Guest blog: INSPIRE training – IMPACT and Women for Election

Delegates and trainers gathered at IMPACT's Dublin offices for the INSPIRE training on Saturday 12th November.
Delegates and trainers gathered at IMPACT’s Dublin offices for the INSPIRE training on Saturday 12th November.

In our latest guest blog, Una Power of Women for Election writes about last week’s INSPIRE training workshop for women activist members of IMPACT

On Saturday the 12th of November, Women for Election teamed up with IMPACT to run our INSPIRE Training Programme. The day aimed to prepare and encourage women in IMPACT to run for local, divisional and national committee elections within the Union. Forty women from across Ireland gathered in the IMPACT offices for the training, and there was a fantastic energy in the room, with everyone excited to start the programme.

The day started with an introduction on the importance of female representation in politics from Women for Election’s Hannah Deasy and Una Power. Our presentation highlighted issues that hold women back from running for office, and showed a correlation between representation in parliamentary politics and IMPACT’s national & divisional officer roles. They also addressed the importance of gender equality in the decision-making process, and how women’s voices cannot afford to be lost from it.

We were delighted to welcome Patricia King as our INSPIRE Speaker. Patricia shared her own experiences within the union. She emphasised the importance of treating everybody with respect, and that there is little substitute for hard work. Her message to live by your principles set the tone for the trainings.

Lack of confidence has long been highlighted as a barrier that holds women back from running for election. On Saturday, we were joined by Dr Shirley Graham, who led the group through a session on developing confidence. Dr Graham taught the group how they must understand their fears and their strengths to develop their confidence in any situation.

Any campaign requires strong communications; you need your message to be heard by your voters. Communications expert Orlaith Carmody showed the participants how to create and deliver effective messaging, with a focus on presentations and panel discussions. Orlaith stressed the importance of not learning off a presentation word for word, but instead knowing the topic well and being able to speak to the individual audience.

The final training session focused on the practicalities and strategies of campaigning. Christina Carney, former Assistant General Secretary with IMPACT, broke down the election process within the Trade Union, showing participants how to best focus their campaigning. She also made sure that everyone was aware of the rules and procedures regarding nominations, breaking down the process for our participants.

We would like to thank IMPACT for inviting us to partner on this event. A special thank you to Margaret Coughlan, Vice-President of IMPACT, who chaired the day’s proceedings, Linda Kelly and Julie Healy for working with us on the organisation, and to Pat Fallon, IMPACT President and Kevin, Deputy General Secretary of IMPACT, who supported the project. We look forward to seeing our participants future success!

This blog was originally published on the Women for Election website.