Podcast: the Linda Cullen and Sarah Durcan interview on #HowIDidIt, with advice from Valéria Aquino

In this fifth episode of #HowIDidIt: the Business Post’s Women in Leadership podcast series, Nadine O’Regan interviews Linda Cullen, chief executive and director, and Sarah Durcan, activist and associate director, about their careers and the work they’ve done to shine a light on inequality in Ireland

Ambition, leadership and sexism are all under discussion in the new season of the #HowIDidIt podcast series

Ireland has come a long way as a country -- such a long way that sometimes it’s hard to believe quite how different things used to be.

In the new episode of #HowIDidIt, Linda Cullen recalls what the country was like when she left school at 16 in the 1980s and began getting work in TV production.

Cullen is now the chief executive of COCO Content, the company responsible for shows including First Dates and Room to Improve. She’s also co-director of The 34th: The Story of Marriage Equality in Ireland. But back in the 1980s, she was a kid hoping to get a break -- and it wasn’t easy.

“I had a really strong feminist mom,” Cullen says. “She wouldn't have taken any nonsense. She was predominantly a single mom. But she was paid less than any other guy. She knew she was paid less. You knew it was wrong. But you worked your way around it. That was my experience anyway, in the ‘80s. There was lots of discrimination and plenty of harassment. That was the norm in the ‘80s and ‘90s.”

“I’m so happy to see that we are no longer trying to work our way around these things and I’m so glad that my kids, who are 12, won’t accept any nonsense about boys getting preferential treatment.”

Sarah Durcan -- associate director of Science Gallery International and previously a lead organiser of the Waking the Feminist movement -- agrees with that assessment.

“We were all part of a system that we didn’t recognise was as patriarchal as it still was, because we think of ourselves in the arts as very liberal and very egalitarian. The sharing of stories has been so important, whether it's been in the marriage campaign, Waking the Feminists or in the abortion campaign after that.”

In the podcast, Durcan and Cullen discuss their particular experiences in Ireland and they are blunt about the ongoing problems women still experience, particularly in relation to maternity leave in this country. “The system is still not friendly for women,” says Durcan. “The system has to meet us halfway.”

Later in the episode, in our weekly expert slot, Valéria Aquino, integration officer at the Immigrant Council of Ireland, offers advice for employers on how to foster inclusivity in the workplace.

Listen at the link below, or via Apple Podcasts.

#HowIDidIt: the Women in Leadership podcast is sponsored by Glandore: visit their website here.

Listen back to all previous episodes, with featured guests including Rachael English, novelist and Morning Ireland presenter, Zara King of Virgin Media, Louise Campbell of Robert Walters recruitment consultancy, Aine Kerr of Kinzen, Mairin Murray of Tech for Good Dublin, Sarah Geraghty of the Communications Clinic, Frances Fitzgerald, MEP for Dublin and former tánaiste, Joan Burton, ex-tánaiste, Susan Keogh, communications consultant, Trinity provost Linda Doyle, UCD historian Mary McAuliffe, entrepreneur Leonora O‘Brien, Hazel Chu, former Lord Mayor of Dublin, Minister Catherine Martin and Anne O‘Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland, at the below link.

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