We were delighted to host Sue Gray, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Finance in the Northern Ireland Executive to Holywell on Wednesday 8thMay 2019 as part of the Foyle Women’s Information Network ‘inspirational women’ talk events series.
 
Taking time out from her busy schedule, Sue spoke with our women at a breakfast meeting where we discussed issues as far-ranging as barriers to employment, the emotional labour of caregiving and what can be done to help improve and enhance the lives and career prospects of people in the north-west.
 
Reflecting on her own journey through the civil service from an entry level position to becoming ‘the woman who runs the country’; Sue remarked that she did not feel that people in Northern Ireland have the same opportunities for career progression and vowed to change the status quo in our region.
 
Passionate in her commitment to developing and strengthening civil service infrastructure, Sue reached out to our women for their input on how better to serve the north-west. With comments touching upon the rigidity of the civil service as well as the missed opportunities for investment in the Derry/Londonderry City area, Sue was informed of specific issues of concern from those directly impacted.
 
Closing with the suggestion that ‘empowered women empower women’, Sue committed to coming back to visit our women in six months where she would ask them to hold her to account. Between then and now, Sue will be working with MLA’s in a bid to restore devolved government here in Northern Ireland and she will also be visiting Rathlin Island to advise and assist locals with their aim of developing self-sufficient living on the island.