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National Women’s Council announces community activist and anti-trafficking expert, Dr Jennifer Okeke

Published: Friday, June 14, 2024

The National Women’s Council (NWC) is delighted to announce Dr Jennifer Okeke as NWC’s new Chairperson and Shirley Scott as NWC’s new Deputy Chairperson. Both were elected by NWC members at NWC’s Annual General Meeting yesterday, 13th June 2024. 

Dr Jennifer Okeke is the Anti-Trafficking Coordinator with the Immigrant Council of Ireland and the first woman of colour elected as Chairperson of the National Women’s Council. 

Jennifer is a community activist and has extensive experience on issues of gender, human rights and migration (refugees, asylum seekers, direct provision). Jennifer holds a PhD from Dublin City University. Her research focused on the experience of migrant women trafficked into/through Ireland for sexual exploitation. Jennifer also holds a Masters’ degree in International Relations from the School of Law and Government, DCU and a BSc from University College Birmingham. Jennifer previously held the position of Deputy Chairperson of NWC for the last two years. 

After her election, Dr Jennifer Okeke said, 

 “I am delighted and honoured to be elected as Chairperson of Ireland’s national women’s representative organisation. I look forward to working with my fellow Board members and with NWC’s Director Orla O’Connor and the NWC team to promoting women’s equality and highlighting the key issues facing women today in Ireland.” 

Shirley Scott, NWC’s new Deputy Chairperson, is the Policy Manager with the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Shirley previously served on NWC’s Board as an ordinary member. 

Having started as a volunteer with DRCC over 20 years ago, Shirley became a staff member in 2004. She has held a number of different positions within the organisation including Deputy Team Leader of the National 24-Hour Helpline. Her work currently involves policy analysis and research where she has developed extensive knowledge and understanding of the issues and impact of sexual violence. She has been involved in community and voluntary work for much of her adult life and currently sits on the Board of the National Bereavement Support Group. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Business Studies from DCU, a Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) and a Masters in Arts (Humanities) from St. Patrick’s College (DCU).

After her election, Shirley Scott said,

“I am deeply honoured and grateful to have been elected as Deputy Chair of the National Women's Council. Alongside our newly elected Chair and my fellow Board members, I look forward to working with NWCs Director Orla O’Connor and her dedicated team. Together, we will continue our work to create a meaningful impact on the lives of women throughout Ireland."

NWCI’s newly elected board members include:

  • Luzia Antonio Berechet
  • Norah Burns
  • Rebekah Connelly
  • Siobhán Fenton
  • Megan Giblin
  • Margaret Martin 
  • Maeve Mc Cafferty