Royal Irish Academy painting the portrait of Prof. Debra Laefer


Staff at the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) in Dublin has decided to honour the past achievements of the first four women elected as members of the RIA: art historian Françoise Henry, physicist Sheila Tinney, scientist Phyllis Clinch, and literature scholar Eleanor Knott. In tandem, they have also decided to honour eight female scientists currently working in Irish academic institutions. All 12 are to be the subject of specially-commissioned portraits, with the eight scientists together in a group portrait.  Our Professor in UCD Civil Engineering School, Debra Laefer, is amongst the selected eight women scientists. The portrait also features Emma Teeling and Aoife Gowenof UCD, Aoife McLysaght, Sarah McCormack and Catríona Lally of TCD, Lydia Lynch, currently at Harvard Medical School, and Maria McNamara of UCC.

The RIA is calling it the Women on Walls project. The intention is to host a campaign at some point in the project, to encourage people to look at their workspaces and see if the presence of women is reflected there, and if not, to make some active changes to ensure they do. Its ambitious aim is to see portraits of 1,000 women in 100 countries over the next three years.