Mary Robinson, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the IMAGE PwC Businesswoman of the Year Awards on rocking the system
14th Apr 2023
"I want women to be leaders in the family, in the community, in every county in Ireland."
At the 15th annual IMAGE PwC Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2023, we are delighted to announce Mary Robinson as the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
First woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Chair of The Elders; a passionate advocate for gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building, human dignity and climate justice, Mary Robinson is a leader who embodies the values and the impact that we, in turn, are honoured to recognise and celebrate in our community.
“When it comes to trailblazers, Mary Robinson is in a league of her own,” says Clodagh Edwards, CEO of IMAGE Media. “She has given women, and those who dare to speak up, representation at the highest echelons and has created a precedence for us all to aspire to. At IMAGE Media, the Lifetime Achievement Award is our most treasured accolade, and there is no one more deserving of this honour than Mrs Robinson.”
While Mary Robinson couldn’t join us on the night as she was preoccupied in her hometown of Ballina, receiving and welcoming back the president of the United States Joe Biden, she recorded her speech which was screened to all guests at the ceremony.
“A Lifetime Achievement Award is a reminder of all the people who have supported me throughout my life, I feel I stand on their shoulders with great gratitude, and you may remember that I did particularly thank mná na hÉireann, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.
“I’ve been very interested in women’s leadership all my life. My main work at the moment is at Chair of The Elders and we are concerned about three existential threats; the climate and biodiversity crisis, the nuclear crisis and the pandemic crisis, but I’m also an active member of at least three women leaders networks.
“The Connected Women Leaders are women in the media and they have realised that we don’t understand the extent to which there is a climate and biodiversity crisis because actually, it’s a communications crisis. We don’t feel that we’re in a crisis but actually, the scientists tell us that this is a very real crisis. So we have decided to launch a women’s Earthshot initiative which we’re calling Project Dandelion, and we’re saying we have seven years to change course, and that will bring us to 2030.
“Seven years to do what? The climate scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have issued a number of reports, one very recently called the Synthesis Report in which they have repeated to us that we have to reduce our emissions by 2030 in order to have net zero emissions by 2050 if we are to have a liveable world.
“We’re heading for catastrophe, but we’re on the cusp of a clean energy world, and that’s what excites women leaders. I want you, Irish businesswomen, to realise we are in a crisis and to take it personally, and to know how you can reduce your own emissions in your business and in your home and also in your supply chain, if that’s relevant. I want women to be leaders in the family, in the community, in every county in Ireland, women at the political level as much as we can, women artists, women designers, women farmers – I can’t tell you how much I want women to take the climate crisis personally in our lives and give that leadership.
“I really, really want you to step up now as women leaders and understand we have to have a safe future for our children and grandchildren, for our nieces and nephews, for their future.”
Watch Mary Robinson’s speech at the IMAGE PwC Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2023 below.