12 March, 2024 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

'It's great being a female educator in a male-dominated field' - Celebrating Women in Sports this International Women's Day

It’s great being a female educator in a male-dominated field’ – Celebrating Women in Sports this International Women’s Day

The theme of International Women’s Day 2024 is #InspireInclusion.

International Women's Day is a global movement which aims to create a world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Portobello Institute was founded by Delia Lyons in 1981, and today, her daughter Rebekah Lyons continues to make education accessible.

As a female-led further and higher education provider, we are looking inward this International Women's Day to celebrate the women who make Portobello Institute the wonderful, supportive, nurturing and inclusive learning environment it is.

Introducing Shannon Byrne - Sports Therapy Lecturer at Portobello Institute

Shannon Byrne is a graduate of Portobello Institute's BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy degree who went on to open Rebound Injury Clinic and return to Portobello as a lecturer on the programme she studied.

With her clinic going from strength to strength, and recently hiring other Portobello sports therapy graduates onto her growing team, Shannon brings her experience, knowledge, passion and expertise to all of her classes - inspiring inclusion for all sports therapists - male and female - to follow their passion and fulfil their potential.

In her position as a sports therapy lecturer, Shannon wants to show other women that they too can have their dream career working as sports therapists.

Q&A with Shannon Byrne - International Women's Day

What is your role at Portobello Institute? 

I teach on the BSc in Sports Therapy programme on both the full-time and blended courses. I teach several modules, this year I’m teaching first-year blended and full-time courses with two modules - Introduction to Sports Therapy and Anatomy and Pathophysiology. 

I teach the blended learning second-year cohort one module – Examination and Assessment. I also teach the QQI Anatomy and Physiology course and I supervise some student's dissertations.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2024 is ‘Inspiring Inclusion’, can you share some thoughts on what this means to you as part of your role at Portobello? 

It's great being a female educator in a male-dominated field. In recent years there has been much more of a 50/50 split being male and female students. When I completed the course as a student myself it was much more male-dominated.

I feel it's important for the women on the course to be surrounded by others who have been on a similar pathway to the one they’re currently on.  

I’m also a business owner outside of my role in Portobello, I hope the students can see my journey and where I am currently in my career and envision what career paths could be available to them when they graduate. 

Being a woman, working in education and working in a female-led environment – how has this supported you to retain your career and deal with life as it happens? 

It's amazing working in a female-led environment, it inspires me in both my personal and professional life to continue to push the boundaries and excel in my career. 

Through your work at Portobello Institute, how do you inspire inclusion for others? 

We inspire inclusion in many different ways in Portobello, we welcome students from multiple different backgrounds who all share a passion for their chosen courses.  

Inclusion will always have a positive impact, having a diverse student body and encouraging all of our students to excel in their education and future careers is very rewarding.  

How can education play a role in empowering women? 

In the day and age we currently live in, education is incredibly important in securing a career. By encouraging young women to pursue their passion through education we are empowering them.

How can inclusion, flexibility, and accessibility to education support and empower women in their education journeys? 

It can be incredibly powerful, particularly for women in our blended learning programmes who are juggling education with their personal lives and families. 

Giving Back

At Portobello Institute we understand the importance of giving back by having a small in-house charity we set up called 'Dochas Leanai'. 

College director, Denise Flood, travels to India and Belarus twice a year with a team of about 15 individuals, across staff and students. Devoted work includes training Montessori teachers and setting up Montessori schools in slum areas in Pune India.

The charity is also heavily involved in supporting training in a girl's rescue centre and a small school for profoundly hearing-impaired children. This involves self-defence training in a community project and sports and arts and crafts camps in a slum school in Pune.

Read more inspiring International Women's Day interviews here.




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