Former Secretary General of the European Commission Dr. Catherine Day has highlighted the significance of the upcoming European elections for informing the type of European Union that people want to create.
Dr. Day, speaking on the occasion of the launch of the DCU Women in Leadership Annual Report highlighted the importance of a union that was “robust in standing up for basic values” and reminded attendees that EU membership “has been very good for women in Ireland.” She outlined that her hopes for the future of the European Union, was a union that was “balanced” and took account of a “modern social agenda” linked with a “modern economy.”
Ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday March 8th, Dr Day was the keynote speaker at DCU’s Mary McAleese Women in Leadership Lecture Series.
In a wide-ranging, informative and humorous address Dr Day spoke in-depth about her own career and the time she spent working in the European Commission.
Dr Day, who is currently Special Adviser to President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commissioner described herself as an “ordinary woman who had extraordinary opportunities.”
She highlighted the importance of female role models and the need to take “calculated risks” and pinpointed three specific factors in terms of creating an environment conducive to the progression of women in all facets of society; this included the “on-going” need to support and encourage women and build confidence; taking actions to ensure a “critical mass” can be achieved and finally the issue of time-management, a factor which places a greater burden on women than men.
Dr Day also reminded attendees of the need to “network” and to invest time in that aspect of professional life while also highlighting the importance of establishing what one’s personal ambitions are.
About Dr. Catherine Day
Catherine Day is the former Secretary General of the European Commission. She was appointed in 2005 by Jose Manuel Barroso. Dr. Day began her career at the European Union in 1979. At the Commission she worked under a number of EU Commissioners including Irish commissioners Richard Burke and Peter Sutherland, and former British commissioner Leon Brittan. She was appointed deputy director-general for external relations under Chris Patten in 2001 and was pivotal in the European Union’s enlargement in 2004 which saw ten new states join the EU.Dr Day is the first woman to hold the post of Secretary General of the European Commission. Dr Day graduated from UCD with a BA Economics and Politics in 1974, followed by a Masters in International Trade and Economic Integration in 1975. She holds Honorary Doctorates from UCD, University of Limerick and Griffith College Dublin. She is currently Special Adviser to President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commissioner and Chair of the Governing Body of University College Cork.
About the Mary McAleese Women in Leadership Lecture Series
The series of lectures began in March 2016, with former President Mary McAleese delivering the inaugural address. The lectures feature a range of high profile successful women leaders who share their stories including the challenges they faced in becoming role models. Speakers since have included Prof Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of University of Oxford, Dr Michelle Williams, Dean of Harvard University's School of Public Health and most recently, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the ninth President of Malta. The lectures are part of DCU Women in Leadership, which was launched by President Brian MacCraith in November 2015.