HR Conference: Why 2023 is the Year of Women in the Workplace

HR Conference: Why 2023 is the Year of Women in the Workplace

Don’t miss our annual HR Conference, happening on Wednesday 26th April, to keep up to date on the latest trends and best practices, and to gain valuable insights, knowledge, and inspiration.

The theme this year is Why 2023 is the Year of Women in the Workplace and we have some great speakers lined up – including Lauren Fabianski, Head of Campaigns & Communications for Pregnant Then Screwed, and sessions on key topics such as why gender balance is good for everyone, and making your workplace more gender neutral.

Why is this years theme important?

Gender balance is good for everyone, including men. Over the past 40 years, the UK and Ireland have seen an almost continual rise in the proportion of women in employment. The employment rate among women is up from 57% in 1975 to 72% in December 2021 – employers must recognise that women now make up a large proportion of the workforce and to recruit and retain top talent, the needs and aspirations of female workers must be front, centre and understood. In this highly competitive recruitment environment – if you don’t understand and adapt, your competitors will and by extension, they’ll snap up the best talent!

After attending you will:

Have a legal overview of the key developments affecting women and families in the workplace

  • Understand why childcare matters for gender equality
  • Connect how gender balance is good for everyone, including men
  • Get an insight into how AI will affect YOUR JOB!
  • Develop workplace culture to nurture everyone, and be more gender-inclusive
  • Appreciate the importance of authenticity in your leadership-style
  • Be equipped to deal positively with menopause in your organisation

Course overview/outline programme

Sessions will include:

  • Why Childcare Matters for Gender Equality
  • Women and Families Legal Update with Eversheds
  • Why Gender Balance is good for everyone (including men)
  • Taking the ‘Human’ out of Human Resources – Why AI wants YOUR job!
  • 'Luck v Ability’ – why are men seen as capable and women seen as lucky when they succeed?
  • Making your Workplace more Gender Inclusive
  • Authenticity is the Gold Standard for Leadership
  • Cardigans on, Cardigans Off! Why Menopause is so much more than Hot Flushes, and Why it Matters in your Workplace

Who will benefit from this event?

HR Professionals and Line Managers

When & Where?

This event will take place online on the Hopin platform between 9:15am and 4:00pm on Wednesday 26 April 2023.


Standard Rate: £245`

More about our online events platform Hopin

This event will be hosted on a browser based platform named Hopin.  We have provided some information below to assist you when accessing the event:-

  • If you are using a Laptop. PC or Apple Mac please use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers
  • The latest version of Edge may be used as long as all recent updates have been made within the last 4 weeks
  • If you are using a mobile device then Safari is recommended for IOS and Google Chrome on Android

We understand that some IT policies may restrict the downloading of new browsers, please check and if this is the case you may have to use your own personal device to access the event.

If you would like further information regarding the above, please contact us at and we will be happy to discuss with you further.


Sponsored by:


Time Session


Get to Know Us: Familiarise yourself with the functions of our online event to ensure you maximise return on your investment. Christine Quinn from Legal Island’s Knowledge Team welcomes delegates to our 2023 event.


Introduction and Welcome from your Sponsor: Eversheds Sutherland


Why Childcare Matters for Gender Equality

In January 2023, the Economic and Social Research Institute compared early childhood education and care in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The study found:

  • Mothers of young children in Ireland work longer hours and are more reliant on formal childcare than their counterparts in Northern Ireland
  • Mothers in Northern Ireland are more likely to work part-time and are more reliant on friends and family for childcare
  • Children in both jurisdictions are entitled to free universal pre-school provision, which have very high levels of take-up.
Parents are plagued by the rising cost of early childcare as the costs equate to that of a second mortgage.Lauren Fabianski, Head of Campaigns & Communications for Pregnant Then Screwed, explains why childcare is part of the key infrastructure of a country, and why it is not ‘just’ a women’s issue, but one that has the capacity to improve the lives of mums, dads, children and the national economy, if done right.


Q&A with Lauren Fabianski


Networking and Refreshment Break


Women and Families Legal Update with Eversheds 

Republic of Ireland

Legislation has been developing a pace. Join us in this session for a discussion on:

  1. Work Life Balance Bill – flexible working, domestic violence leave, extension of breastfeeding breaks and remote working.
  2. Menopause – an important and growing discussion – key lessons from caselaw both in ROI and in the UK.
  3. Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment
  4. Gender Pay Gap Reporting – does your organisation fall within the new reporting requirements?

Julie Galbriath, Partner in the Employment team at Eversheds Sutherland gives an analysis of the law in this area, including Irish caselaw to date. Key takeaways will be provided.

NB: this session is subject to change as our speaker wants to ensure she brings you the most up to date and relevant topics on the day.

 Women and Families Legal Update with Eversheds

Northern Ireland 

Join us in this session for a discussion on:

  1. Domestic Abuse (Safe Leave) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022
  2. Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022
  3. Menopause – an important and growing discussion – key lessons from caselaw.
  4. Gender, Ethnicity and Disability Pay Gap reporting update.

Ian McFarland, Partner in the Employment team at Eversheds Sutherland gives an analysis of the law in this area, including caselaw to date. Key takeaways will be provided.

NB: this session is subject to change as our speaker wants to ensure he brings you the most up to date and relevant topics on the day.




Q&A with Julie Galbraith

Q&A with Ian McFarland


Networking and Comfort Break


Why Gender Balance is Good for Everyone (including Men)

Some say that women's progress in the workplace and in society is being rolled back to 1950s due to the unbalanced approach to the Covid-19 pandemic. It has never been more important for men to speak up and actively promote gender parity. Gender-responsive leadership is needed more than ever, but what is it and how can it help all genders and organisations thrive?

Robert Baker, CEO at Potentia, explains:

  1.  The shortcomings of existing leadership models.
  2.  What leadership really needs today and tomorrow.
  3. Why gender balance is good for men too.
  4. How men can be allies to female colleagues, and why it’s important.


Q&A with Robert Baker


Lunch and Networking


Welcome Back and Summary. Introduction to Afternoon Sessions.


Taking the ‘Human’ out of Human Resources – Why AI wants YOUR job!

Employees don’t want HR, they want the outcomes you bring. They’re not committed to the processes, the methods, the techniques that characterise your work In HR. They want outcomes.

In this session Professor Mark Keane, Full Professor of Computer Science, University College Dublin explains: :

  1. Why AI is definitely coming for your job - it’s sooner than you think!
  2. A machine can read documents faster than you can, provide personalised and accurate data and get things done quickly.  So how do you make it your partner and personal HR Assistant and prepare for this imminent technological tsunami?
  3. How do we address AI’s inequality problem? Is it ethical? Does it perpetuate bias and enforce existing stereotypes?



Q&A with Prof. Mark Keane


What’s Luck got to do with it?

When men are successful, their achievements are often attributed to their innate abilities, without regard to the role that luck has played in propelling them forward.  Women, on the other hand, are generally seen as more passive passengers on their success journeys. So when they succeed, it can feel unexpected. It feels like they were just... lucky.

Odessa Hamilton, Behavioural Scientist at London School of Economics talks about the gender imbalance of ‘Luck v Ability’ – why are men seen as capable and women seen as lucky when they succeed? Odessa will offer tips for your organisation on:

1. How to change the gender composition of your organisation – you can’t be what you can’t see.
2. Why you should recruit by tasked-based assessments, and how to do it
3. How to audit and hold decision makers to account.


Making your Workplace more Gender Inclusive

People are people and no matter who they are deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Regardless of cultural label, employees are encouraged to bring their authentic self to work. So how do you ensure your organisation is an inclusive and comfortable place to work for all?

Karen McShane of Kevin McShane Ltd discusses:

  1. How do you create a working atmosphere that fosters an inclusive environment that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression?
  2. How do you support employee self-identification and create an inclusive workplace?
  3. Addressing real-life considerations and solutions for supporting a more gender-inclusive workplace such as access to bathroom facilities, making dress codes gender neutral and what to do when two opposing but legitimate interests collide.


Q&A with Odessa Hamilton

Q&A with Karen McShane


Comfort Break


Corporate Lessons from a Lifeboat: Authenticity is the Gold Standard for Leadership 

A post-Covid world calls for more authentic and transparent leadership. Growing research indicates that authentic leadership is not only beneficial for individual as the leader but also for their followers and organisational outcomes. Authentic leaders are deeply aware of their values and beliefs and display characteristics such as self-confidence, genuineness, reliability, and trustworthiness. Higher levels of employee wellbeing will ensue if leaders know and act on their strengths, values and beliefs. And research continues to stress the primary importance of authenticity, with Harvard Business Review declaring “Authenticity as the gold standard for leadership.” 

Sinead Sharpe, HR Director of Staffline and RNLI Volunteer Helm discusses her leadership journey in both business and as a search and rescue volunteer; explaining: 

  1. Why authenticity is at the core of RNLI command leadership training, and what can business leaders learn from it? 

  1. Expressing your truth as an authentic leader 

  1. The good, and bad, about ‘self-monitoring’. 

  1. How does emotional intelligence affect leadership? 

Cardigans on, Cardigans Off! Why Menopause is so much more than Hot Flushes, and Why it Matters in your Workplace

Not every woman gets pregnant during her lifetime, but all women go through menopause. It’s imperative that they are supported as they go through it at work.

The average age of menopause is 51, and perimenopause is 45. This age cohort are the fastest growing workforce demographic and with the ever-moving pension age, it is likely that more women will be working into later life.

Loretta Dignam, Founder of the Menopause Hub talks us through her experience of menopause and explains how you can adapt your workplace to hold on to the experienced, valuable and knowledgeable staff in your team who are going through theirs.






Q&A with Sinead Sharpe

Q&A with Loretta Dignam


Summary and Close


Conference Closes




  • Ian McFarland
    Ian McFarland Partner
    Eversheds Sutherland

    Ian is a Partner in Eversheds Sutherland's Belfast Employment Law team. He has over 10 years of knowledge and expertise in employment law, particularly in complex matters for high-profile clients. Ian's work since the onset the pandemic has been varied and often urgent, including significant collective redundancy exercises (affecting 500+ employees) and all associated issues, advice in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and hybrid/home working arrangements.


  • Julie Galbraith
    Julie Galbraith Partner
    Eversheds Sutherland

    Julie Glbraith is Partner in the Employment Law department at Eversheds Sutherland. She advises clients on all aspects of the employment relationship from recruitment to termination. She works with public and private sector clients on contentious and non-contentious employment issues to deliver on the business needs of our clients. She advises HR, legal and business teams on the multitude of day to day and strategic issues such as disciplinary, grievance, performance management, equality, data protection, TUPE and termination of employment matters. 

    Julie is secretary and board member of the Employment Law Association of Ireland and lectures on the Law Society Employment Law Diploma course. She regularly speaks to the media on employment topics. 

  • Karen McShane
    Karen McShane Managing Director
    Kevin McShane Ltd.

    Karen McShane is a Trustee of The Rainbow Project – a health organisation that works to improve the physical, mental and emotional health and well-being of LGBTQIA+ people and their families in Northern Ireland. She starred in the 2019 Channel 4 documentary “The Making of Me”. 

  • Lauren Fabianski
    Lauren Fabianski Head of Campaigns & Communications
    Pregnant Then Screwed

    Lauren is a women's rights campaigner currently Head of Campaigns and Communications at Pregnant Then Screwed. Lauren is featured in The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, iNews, C4 News, ITV News, BBC News, Glamour, Grazia and The New Statesman.

  • Loretta Dignam
    Loretta Dignam CEO & Founder
    The Menopause Hub

    Loretta Dignam is an award-winning Marketer of the Year, who opened the doors to The Menopause Hub, Ireland's first and only dedicated multidisciplinary menopause clinic in December 2018. Loretta is the founder and CEO.

    The Menopause Hub is Ireland’s first dedicated, multidisciplinary clinic, which includes a team of doctors - GPs and Gynaecologists, - a psychologist, a dietitian and nutritionist, a women’s health physiotherapist and an acupuncturist

    Loretta is an advocate for menopausal women and has developed a programme to support organisations with menopause in the workplace awareness and education training, and policy development.

    She has had a lengthy and highly successful career working for many multinational, global businesses including; Mars Inc, Diageo plc, Kerry Group plc Ardagh Group and Jacob Fruitfield, as a senior marketing and communications leader. She was awarded Marketer of the Year in 2011. She is a graduate of UCD and DCU and has lectured in the UCD Smurfit Business School on their executive MBA and MSc Programmes.

    Loretta was on the Board of the Abbey Theatre, for 6 years, where she was a ministerial appointment. She also chaired their Gender Equality Committee, driving change in gender equality policy across Irish theatre, chaired the Development Committee, & was a member of the Audit and Risk Committee. 

  • Prof Mark Keane
    Prof Mark Keane Full Professor Of Computer Science

    Since 1998, Prof. Mark Keane has been Chair of Computer Science at University College Dublin. From 2004-2007 he was Director of ICT (2004-2006) and Director General (2006-2007) at Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) where he oversaw a 700M+ euro research investment. He was an advisor to the Irish Government on its €3.7B Strategy for Science, Technology & Innovation (SSTI). From 2007-2009, he was VP of Innovation & Partnerships at UCD.  He has a BA (UCD) and PhD (TCD) in Cognitive Psychology and previously worked at the University of London, Open University, Cardiff University and Trinity College Dublin (FTCD, 1994).  Prof. Keane has published 200+ articles, including 20+ books. He is a PI in the Insight SFI Centre for Data Analytics and VistaMilk SFI Centre.   His work in Cognitive Science is concerned with how people generate new ideas from old knowledge (using analogy, concept combination, metaphor) and how they deal with things they don't know or expect (surprise, unexpectedness).   In Artificial Intelligence, he works on case-based reasoning, machine learning and explainable AI. 

  • Odessa Hamilton
    Odessa Hamilton Behavioural Scientist
    London School of Economics

    Odessa S. Hamilton is a Research Officer in Behavioural Science within The Inclusive Initiative (TII) at the LSE, and has guest lectured on the LSE Executive MBA programme within the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. At TII she contributes to the Inclusive Leaders Hub. Odessa leverages behavioural science insights and engages in advanced statistical analyses to advance the understanding of factors that impede inclusion in occupational environments. TII has an exciting agenda to integrate the research developed by its members to advance inclusive strategies that increase diversity in traditionally homogenous industries. Thus, with the ultimate aim of informing practice, Odessa and her team together seek to develop economically viable interventions with the use of nuanced proxy measures of inclusion. 

    Odessa is a Doctoral Researcher in Biobehavioural Epidemiology and Precision Medicine at UCL, where she teaches postgraduate Biostatistics by appointment. Her research centers on the interplay between psychosocial and applied sciences in the aetiology of disease. She explores latent mechanisms underlaying these complex processes to identify potentially mitigating behavioural factors. This research closely aligns with Odessa’s work in TII, as it feeds into disease pathogenesis following poor organisational practices, and highlights the need for healthier, more progressive occupational environments. 

  • Robert Baker
    Robert Baker CEO
    Potentia Talent Consulting Limited

    Robert is a recognised thought leader, speaker, executive coach, mentor and consultant, helping organisations realise the power of a truly diverse workforce. He works in partnership with business leaders, helping them overcome organisational challenges to build an inclusive culture and so unleash the full potential of all of their talent. Robert has over forty years’ experience in global HR consulting and led the International Diversity & Inclusion Consulting Practice at Mercer. He has developed a portfolio career and has re-invented himself for his “Next Chapter”. Robert is Founder and CEO of his own business, Potentia Talent Consulting, which provides consulting and workshops for companies and trustee boards on diversity, equity and inclusion topics. Robert is a Board Member of European Women On Boards (EWOB) and is the D&I Strategist tasked with providing input to the Board on its long term strategic growth plan, championing EWOB to external stakeholders and supporting the development of EWOB across all aspects of diversity. Robert can be contacted at:

  • Sinead Sharpe
    Sinead Sharpe HR Director

    Group HR Director for Staffline Ireland, part of the wider Staffline Recruitment Plc Group. During her 20+ year career, Sinead has led development of DEIB strategies; complex change initiatives such as acquisitions and organisational development across a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and construction to public sector and professional services.  She has completed research into the relationships between nationality, culture and employee trust, and is an active business mentor through the CIPD Northern Ireland; Women in Business and QUB Women in Law mentoring programmes. In her spare time, she is a lifeboat crew volunteer with the RNLI and became the first female to hold the operational leadership role of Helm in her station in 2022.

Event details


1 Full Day


26 April 2023


Online - Hopin


Standard Rate: £245