In Ireland, we are in a time of change. While the rest of the world is shouting Me Too, we are shouting “Listen to Me”. In 2018, our government has promised an as-of-yet unscheduled referendum to decide whether or not to repeal the 8th Amendment of the Irish constitution. This amendment gives equal rights to the unborn as it’s mother; meaning that abortion is an illegal activity in our country and disallowing women from invoking their own autonomy over their bodies. The campaign has been raging to get this referendum for many years, and has certainly escalated in the last five years. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about it, and it won’t be the last. This referendum has the possibility to change the lives of women in this country, and allow them rights to gain healthcare they would be entitled to in their own country elsewhere. For that to happen, we need to, in the (paraphrased) words of Mary Robinson on her election to the office of president in 1990, “instead of rocking the cradle rock the system”. There are many facets to this campaign, and one of them is EveryDay Stories.
I listen to the radio on my commute to work, my commute home and often when I’m just hanging around in the house by myself. I have a preference for talk radio compared to music-filled segments. While I was off work, it filled the void of social contact that work had previously given me. Conversations they had on air felt like conversations I would overhear, and potentially take part in, in real life. However, it hasn’t escaped my notice just how few of the voices I’m listening to are female. Where are the women on Irish radio?
At the end of last month, I was very lucky to be offered the chance to attend Inspirefest. Inspirefest is a technology and science conference, but one which not only shows a lot of merging with the arts, but also issues about diversity and gender. As someone who hasn’t studied science since her Junior Cert exams in 2006, I was definitely much more driven towards the diversity and gender side of things. Who’d have thought by the end of it I’d be rethinking my entire vision of future careers?
The word feminist is bandied around a lot, and there seems to be a lot of puzzlement about the actual meaning of the word “feminist” in a lot of cases. There are mental images of underwire on fire, talk of hairy women wanting men out of every powerful position. The words “feminize”, or worse “feminist bitches”, are bandied about and it seems that any replies to “banter” that call that behaviour out are taken in a remarkably negative way. This is the world we live in, and the world I am raising my son in.
Women, they’re incredible, aren’t they? We live in an age where we strive for equality on every level, and work hard to make sure that any glass ceilings are shattered. Today is International Women’s Day, a celebration worldwide which has been ongoing for more than 100 years making the most of the powerful souls which make up half of the worlds population.
It’s easy to look and find incredible role models – there are some obvious choices in the worlds of sport, politics, celebrity, something for everyone. Women who are looked up to for using their talents and savvy to make a difference, to change the world around us. They’re not always the most obvious ones either – some are bold and out there with showing the world their “I am woman, hear me roar” stance, while others are quietly working in the background, letting the work say it all for them.