International Women's Day - Kirstie Muldoon

Monday, March 7, 2022

Kirstie A. Muldoon, Faculty Administrator: The Leinster School of Music & Drama

What does International Women’s Day and its theme this year #BreakingTheBias, mean to you?

International Women’s Day signifies a moment where we can all come together to celebrate women empowerment. For me, the theme ‘Breaking The Bias’ indicates a time for open and honest discussion and decisive action for women in the workplace.

Regardless of gender, it is up to each one of us to break the bias and to engage in active discussions and actions about how we as a society support women in the workplace with our family, friends and colleagues.

Have you seen any progress on gender equality in Higher Education?

Women now have influential positions in Higher Education and their role is by no means limited. Though the Higher Education sector has come a long way - change is slow burning.

The under representation of women in leadership positions in Higher Education and the gender pay gap is still prevalent, despite the open discussions that have taken place over the years. We still have a way to go and I do believe that together we can advocate for change.

What barriers have you faced in your career and how have you overcome them?

Like many women my age, my career has faced challenges: - such as a lack of encouragement and progression opportunities to progress in my career but I refuse to let that stop me!

Strong women have always dominated the music education sector but when progression opportunities arise, their work and achievements are often overlooked.

These inspiring women shaped my career as they overcame many obstacles and actively advocate for change. This has instilled in me the confidence to speak out when faced with barriers and gender bias in the workplace.

Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you over your career?

I am fortunate to have multiple role models who played important roles in shaping my career. My parents for one instilled in me the work ethic, perseverance and curiosity for knowledge that has made me the person that I am today. When it came to my career, my parents always encouraged me to push the boundaries and to always stand up for what I believe in.

I suppose, this inspired my research on gender and equality in music. Over the course of my career and postgraduate studies, I have worked alongside some pretty inspiring women. Two women in particular who have inspired me during my career are- Dr. Ita Beausang and Dr. Laura Watson. They continue to push the boundaries for women in music in Ireland. They are great role models and both of whom I admire greatly.

What advice would you give to women about their careers?

Never give up! Keep the conversation going on gender equality in the workplace and always believe in yourself – you can do anything!

Can you explain a bit about ‘The Routledge Handbook of Women’s Work in Music’ and what key findings really inspired you while writing your section?

The Routledge Handbook of Women’s Work in Music (ed. by Rhiannon Mathias) arose from the First International Conference on Women’s Work in Music, held at Bangor University in September 2017. The Handbook covers a wide range of topics on women’s contributions to music and is broken up into six parts. It will act as an invaluable tool for undergraduate and postgraduate students around the world of music and gender studies.

My chapter focuses on the role that women; such as Annie Patterson, May (Mary) Cosgrave and Joan Burke played in producing independent music intuitions that would provide the landmarks of music education and performance in Ireland today. These women played important social roles as pedagogues, performers and in cultural politics.

What inspired me was how resilient they were and how they played such a huge part in the development of Irish culture but they were the forgotten women in history. The obstacles they faced did not fetter these women. Instead, it inspired them to promote other women in society and laid the foundations for music education in Ireland.