IWD2024: An interview with Niamh McKenna


By Skills for Health | 8 March 2024

As part of our International Women’s Day interviews, we also spoke to Niamh McKenna, CIO for NHS Resolution and board member at Skills for Health.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? And why do you feel it is important that we celebrate it?

IWD is a chance to take a moment and reflect on the role of women in society, in work and around the world. It is helpful to have a day to mark this and galvanise the conversations

This year’s theme is ‘inspire inclusion’. In your role, tell us a bit about how you support this aim.

There are so many dimensions to women’s role in society – and we need to make sure that we hear all the different voices. It’s important to remember that the challenges I may have faced are different to the challenges that others may face – so I try to listen with an open mind to all perspectives.

Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

I have not faced so many visible barriers – but often invisible ones or assumptions. People assuming that I would or would not do something without asking or checking. I have learned over the years to ask questions and ensure that I understood why I was being asked to do something rather than just assume that the person asking had understood my interests/needs.

Do you think there are enough opportunities for women in your sector?

There are lots of opportunities in technology – but sadly many women do not necessarily feel this is a sector for them. I hope that we can encourage young women into seeing this as a good career move for them.

What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

That you can and should be ambitious – that you can and should aim high and not accept limitations, unless they are limits that you have actively chosen.

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