The head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service is among three women to be awarded Bank of Ireland Gold Sovereign Awards for promoting inclusion and diversity.
Jayne Brady, who started her new role in September, joined Irish Women’s Council director Orla O’Connor and sportswoman Jacqui Hurley to receive the honours for their individual contribution to “transforming society and striving to achieve gender balance”.
Ms Brady was praised as an “outstanding role model for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)”.
Before starting her role as head of the NI Civil Service in September, Ms Brady held senior leadership roles in technology and engineering, including digital innovation commissioner at Belfast City Council.
She succeeded Jenny Pyper, who had acted as interim head of the civil service since December 2020.
The gold sovereign is a symbolic gift for Bank of Ireland.
It was formerly given to women getting married during the ‘marriage bar’, from 1932 to 1973 when there was a requirement that women working in certain jobs must leave that job signalling the end of their professional career.
In recent years, the sovereigns have been repurposed and are now used to recognise outstanding achievement and leadership in the promotion of Inclusion and Diversity, either through awardees’ chosen career or by advocating for the cause.
Orla O’Connor received the Sovereign for “her pioneering work, advocating for women, particularly as director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland”.
Jacqui Hurley’s Gold Sovereign award acknowledges her role as trailblazer for women in sports.
Deirdre Gavin, HR Director and head of Inclusion & Diversity, Bank of Ireland, said the Gold Sovereign was a “powerful symbol” to recognise women who had shown leadership and championed diversity.