Breda Greaves of Ballymahon Convent Day Care Centre
International Women’s Day is not about stars and celebrities, its about ordinary women like our grandmothers and mothers carrying out duties in the local community which in turn develops a great community spirit, according to Breda Greaves of the Ballymahon Convent Day Care Centre.
To Breda, International Women’s Day signifies the importance and significance of women and their role in society.
“It recognizes women in the modern day,” she said.
How will you mark International Women’s Day on Monday, March 8?
I will be working on International Women’s Day, checking in with clients. Normally I would usually attend a women’s networking event on that day.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day is not about stars and celebrities, it's about ordinary women like our grandmothers and mothers carrying out duties in the local community which in turn develops a great community spirit. Also for me personally signifies the importance and significance of women and their role in society. It recognises women in the modern day. In my role as Day Centre Manager international women’s day reiterates the importance of women in the workplace. I am fortunate to work with a great bunch of very capable ladies who work fantastic as a team.
#ChooseToChallenge is the theme for International Women’s Day - applying the theme to your own life and career, what might it mean to you and what is your view or interpretation on the theme?
The theme of International Women's Day 2021 is Choose to Challenge. A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. Oftentimes, we tend to forget the impact a simple 'thank you' can have on someone, so the upcoming IWD is one great way to show your appreciation with a thank-you note for your team. Purple as this is the colour of loyalty and constancy. It is also the colour of dignity and self-respect and signifies independence.
Two ladies that have inspired you in your own life and explain why?
Mother Teresa: After a life dedicated to charity and humanitarian work, she is regarded as one of the most selfless people to have ever lived. One of the most admirable things about Mother Teresa is that she wasn't doing it for the recognition – she spent nearly 30 years of her life helping others before anybody even knew who she was. She believed in doing whatever was possible to help, whether big or small. "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."
Mary Robinson: Her pioneering career advocating for women’s and human rights to serving as Ireland's first female president, she has been a political genius throughout the decades. I admired her especially when she campaigned on a wide range of liberal issues, including the right of women to sit on juries and the right that all women, upon marriage, resign from civil service.
"I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system."
What have been some of your career highlights?
I was a member of the Management team in Dromoland Castle when we received the First Mitchelin star award for fine dining which at the time was a great privilege to be part of a successful team.
Another highlight was when I co-ordinated a Catering/Life Skills QQI accredited Level 4 and many learners progressed onto further their studies in college while some secured employment in the hospitality industry.
My current position as manager of the day care centre is certainly very rewarding and I am privilege to be able to work with excellent staff who help to provide a much needed service to people in the local area.
Covid-19 pandemic - how has it affected your work and how are you and your family coping?
The pandemic has changed my daily role since last March, at the beginning of the pandemic many clients were cocooning so they were automatically excluded from their usual social interaction with their family and friends. I noticed also that it was important to keep the communication active and ensure nobody felt isolated. The social aspect of all our lives can be disabling for many people especially with no face-to-face activities allowed under government guidelines. We were forced to adapt to help and assist clients in other ways.
Plans for when lockdown restrictions are lifted?
When lockdown restrictions are lifted, I will be looking forward to welcoming back our clients, staff and volunteers to the Day Care Centre. We are ready to open once we get the go ahead and all the necessary precautions are in place creating a safe environment for everybody.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Research has shown that one of the major factors holding women back in all aspects of society is confidence. Sometimes women can be terrified that someone will find out we are not as great as they think we are. This pandemic has certainly given us the opportunity to think and reflect on what is most important in our lives. There are many opportunities for women to upskill and maybe change their career paths, we are very good at transferring our skills to different situations in the work place, home or in our community. Always keep positive and it certainly helps if we find ourselves struggling.
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