An interview with Dr Duncan Sutherland

What has been most enjoyable about your role with CAWP?

Itís been exciting being part of the Centre from its very early days. This has been my first real job since completing nine years of university, and it has seemed fitting that the beginning of my career has coincided with that of a new organisation like CAWP. Certainly the Centre has got off to a very good start, and weíve received increasing recognition from other organisations and attention for our work. Iíve enjoyed the challenges, for example, the IWF survey of women on corporate boards in Ireland.†† Iíd never done anything relating to business before but it has been very interesting.† Also, helping organise the ESRC seminars has been a valuable experience.

What were your most satisfying moments?

I suppose my main contribution here has been the website. Each time it received some new recognition, or as we saw the number of visitors to it growing month after month, I felt pleased to have created from scratch something which is proving so useful to people and is becoming an established resource among politically interested web users.

Have you noticed a change in the number of women in politics and decision making in the past two years?

Well I arrived in Northern Ireland just six weeks before the 2001 elections, in time to witness the historic election of three women MPs and a record number of women councillors. Based on that alone there has been an obvious increase in women in politics, but one canít be too confident that itís part of a trend. There were no similar gains across the UK or in the 2002 Irish election Ė if things are left alone any progress will be slow, which is why organisations like CAWP are needed to keep up the pressure.

How have you found NI?

Iíve loved it and will be sad to leave but knew when I arrived that I would not be here forever. The people in general are some of the nicest Iíve met Ė I say this having lived in four countries. I was so pleased to have received this job that I was very positive about moving here and didnít have the negative preconceptions many outsiders bring. It has lived up to my hopes and Iíll remember working at CAWP and living here very fondly.

†Duncan Sutherland, a research fellow at CAWP from May 2001, is originally from Saskatoon, Canada. He came to Belfast via the University of Cambridge from which he received a doctorate in history for his dissertation on women's admission to the House of Lords. Duncan left CAWP at the end of April and moved back to England. He is marrying Julia Haworth on 21 June 2003. Best wishes to Duncan and Julia.