Orla O'Connor is Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), the leading national women’s membership organisation in Ireland, with over 180 member groups. Orla holds an MA in European Social Policy, and after starting out in local community based projects, has worked in senior management in non-governmental organisations for over 25 years. Orla represents NWCI in a wide range of national and international fora. Orla is a feminist, and an expert in the policies needed to progress women’s equality in Ireland. She is an accomplished public speaker, with a strong analysis of public policy. Orla has led numerous high level, successful campaigns on a wide range of issues on women’s rights, including social welfare reform, pension reform and for the introduction of quality and affordable childcare. Orla is passionate about ensuring access to women’s reproductive rights; about ensuring more women are in leadership positions; about ending violence against women; and increasing women’s economic equality.
Tara works on the EU funded ESHTE Project which aims to tackle sexual violence and harassment by engaging with Higher Education Institutes, creating cultural change and enabling women to reach their full potential by promoting safe environments. Tara has over a decade of experience working on violence against women and gender equality issues, managing frontline support services, training, communications and policy development. She holds a BCL from University College Cork, LLM in Human Rights Law from Queens University Belfast and a Professional Diploma in Business from Dublin Business School.
Sarah's work involves the implementation of communications strategies, with particular regard to NWCI's media and press work. Sarah manages NWCI's active social media presence, and develops key social media campaigns in line with NWCI's Strategic Plan. Sarah has also led on NWCI's work with young women, including the high profile #FemFest events. Prior to working at NWCI, Sarah completed her MA in Public Affairs and Political Communications, and holds a BA in History and Political Science.
Anne oversees the co-ordination and overall management of the Finances, office policies and compliance at NWCI. She is a member of the Management Team and has worked in senior management roles over 20 years in the non-governmental and private sector. Anne is a graduate of Griffith College Dublin and a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
Laura Harmon is Leadership Co-ordinator with the National Women’s Council of Ireland and works to reform structures and culture that will enable women’s progress in politics, boardrooms and senior positions in the public and private sector. Laura also works with young women to increase their leadership aspirations and capacity. She was president of the Union of Students in Ireland in 2014/2015, during the marriage equality referendum campaign and she has a background in public relations and political campaigning. She is a graduate of University College Cork.
Sarah Henry joined the NWCI on a part-time basis in October 2016. She is currently working on the Ending Sexual Harassment & Violence in Third Level Education (ESHTE) project which is funded by the EU. She provides support for the delivery of the project which aims to build a culture of zero tolerance in universities and 3rd level institutions throughout Europe. Sarah is a qualified solicitor in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland jurisdictions having specialised in human rights, judicial review, asylum and immigration law for several years in Belfast and Dublin in both private practice and the NGO sector.
As Leadership and Public Engagement Officer, the goal is to promote the NWCI's work on Women in Leadership, and to lead on Public Engagement with regard to reproductive health policies of the organisation. By providing support to the Leadership Co-ordinator to develop and implement programmes, and by facilitating training, conversations and outreach with members and the wider public, this role builds on the work of NWCI to bring about change by clearly articulating a feminist analysis of leadership and reproductive health. The position involves research and analysis of leadership and reproductive health policies. Michi’s background is in reproductive justice advocacy and sexual violence victim support. Her academic studies concentrated on a feminist analysis of law, economics and conflict studies. She obtained her law degree in BPP London School of Law and her M. Phil from Trinity College, Dublin.
Catherine works to ensure that that women’s equality is placed at the heart of local government reform and alignment processes. She supports women’s participation and representation in local life and works in collaboration with the membership and key stakeholders to take collective action to ensure that the voices of marginalised women are represented in decision making structures locally and nationally. Before joining NWCI, Catherine worked for nearly eight years in community development with a local development company.
Jenny is our health policy assistant with NWCI and she provides support to our Women’s Health Co-ordinator. Jenny is a qualified social worker with an MA in Gender, Globalisation, and Rights from NUI Galway. Before joining NWCI, Jenny worked primarily in Homeless and Domestic Violence services.
Dr Cliona Loughnane is NWCI’s Women's Health Co-ordinator, leading policy and campaigns to improve women’s health and to end violence against women. She has more than a decade's experience in policy, research and advocacy in the NGO sector and the health service. Her work focuses on the impact of gender on health, on reducing health inequalities for women and advocating for a public health system to provide for every woman’s health needs. She holds a Doctorate of Social Science and a Masters of Economic Science.
Sarah joined NWCI on a part-time basis in September 2017. Her work involves supporting NWCI’s communications team in raising public awareness about key thematic priorities for the organisation, and in raising the public profile of NWCI in line with NWCI’s Strategic Plan – Driving Women’s Equality 2016 -2020. Prior to working at NWCI, she worked as part of the advocacy and communications team of a sexual and reproductive health charity. Sarah has an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture from University College Dublin.
Jennifer McCarthy Flynn is Head of Policy with the National Women's Council of Ireland, leading the development of NWCI policy and advocacy work. Jennifer has a background in women’s transformative community education and development, including international development and has been a senior manager in the NGO sector for over 25 years.
Helen liaises with our 180 Group and Individual Members to ensure that their interests within women's equality remain at the heart of our organisation's strategy. With a background in Digital Marketing and PR, she is a keen supporter of Girls & Women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM), partnering up with Business, Organisations and Government
Eilís is Policy and Campaigns Coordinator at NWCI. She has lead responsibility for our work on Women's Economic Independence. Prior to NWCI, Eilís worked for Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq, Amnesty International (AI) Ireland and Oxfam Ireland.
Silke leads on NWCI’s communications and membership work. This includes developing effective Communications and Membership Strategies in line with NWCI’s Strategic Plan and overseeing their implementation and integration into NWCI’s work overall. Silke previously worked in different roles for homelessness organisations at national and European level. She holds a double Masters degree in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin and Sciences Po Paris.
Denise leads on the legal work of the organisation, and provides support to the policy team across the core strategic areas of the organisation. She has extensive experience in legal research and policy development across a broad spectrum of human rights and equality issues. She has previously worked for the Law Reform Commission, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Irish Mission to the United Nations in New York, as well as acting as a Judicial Fellow of the High Court. She is the co-rapporteur of the International Law Association’s Feminism and International Law Committee. Denise holds a BCL (International) Degree from University College Cork, and is a qualified solicitor. She is currently enrolled in Northumbria Law School in their LLM Advanced Legal Practice programme.