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Happy Women’s Day Donegal

Colorful People Wallpaper

In this Women’s Live’s, Women’s Voice’ feature a Donegal woman shares her thoughts on why we should celebrate International Women’s Day, highlighting the importance of reflecting on achieves made in advancing women’s equality but also recognising the work that still has to be done and remembering those women whose voices go unheard and are excluded from realising their full potential.

 


 

Sunday 8th March is International Women Day, a day to mark the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide. The overall purpose of this day is to draw global attention to gender inequality and violence against vulnerable women. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on progress, change and to celebrate those acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

 

Imagine a world where everyone has equal rights and opportunities, where gender equality is the norm. Men and women sharing the care work at home and getting paid equally for work of equal value.  Picture equality on factory floors, corporate boardrooms and in political leadership. Women would have an equal say in decisions that affect their lives, their bodies, their policies, and their environment.


 

It’s easy to dismiss International Women’s Day as a day just for women and why it’s needed. If we look at the typical life of a woman in a country like Ireland, you might be slightly cynical as to why it would be necessary. After all, women can do what they want here – they have the vote, can work where they want, receive the same education, everything on the surface seems straightforward.

 

But it’s important to remember that International Women’s Day is over 100 years old. And here in Ireland no less than 50 years ago, women had to leave their job in the civil service if they got married. Women were not permitted to own property outright and were also prevented from collecting child benefits – it had to be paid out to the father.  And while there has been much improvement within the last 50 years or so, regarding Irish women’s position in society, this is not the same in every country.


 

We must look back as well as forward, and remember the struggle that women faced throughout the centuries in gaining fundamental rights.  The rights that are often taken for granted in western countries, and are urgently required in many developing ones, for instance, the right to vote, own property, and to have an education.  Those rights were required in a hard fought battled against those who sought to deny them.

 

International Women’s Day is a further opportunity to honour the incredible achievements that women have made throughout the world. All too often women have been erased from the history books, and this particular occasion is a great opportunity to experience the wonderful literature, music and scientific discoveries as well as all the contributions for which women have never been accredited.


 

Women like Nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell (1883-1957) who was a member of Cumann na mBan, and a dispatcher during the Easter Rising for the rebels. She was a midwife and a fierce Republican who stayed in the GPO throughout the rising caring for the wounded.  However, Nurse O’Farrell was ‘airbrushed’ out of history when her shoes were all that remained in a photograph of the 1916 surrender, in which she appeared alongside Padraig Pearse.

Elizabeth O farrell 1916


Also women like, Jenni Wyse Power (1858-1941) who is one of the better-known female figures in the Rising and politics of the 20th century. She was an activist, feminist, politician and businesswoman, a founder-member of Sinn Féin. She was appointed to the first Seanad, and used her position to campaign for women rights. Stories such as these are commonplace, and therefore it is important that women are remembered for their contributions to society.

 

Ireland is imperfect to the law of equality, for example, the wage gap disputes and also the vast inequality in politics. However, we need to recognise that events like this are an essential step of active solidarity for many women around the world. We, therefore, must reflect on the work that still has to be done and remember those women whose voices go unheard and who continue to be excluded from realising their full potential.

This is why International Women’s Day is essential – it provides otherwise silenced women with a voice, which is a vital step in the right direction.

 

 We are #GenerationEquality

 

 


NCCWN Donegal are always looking for women to share their stories and looking for women to write features on topics of their choice which we will profile as part of our Women’s Lives, Women’s Voices’ series.

 

Mighty Women

Mighty Women

 

“The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are” Maya Angelou

 

On 1st February NCCWN Donegal Women’s Network held the county’s  first Herstory event in support of a  national women’s storytelling movement to tell the stories of women past and present. The event  brought women together to share stories through a creative process and created a space to reflect on the importance of ensuring women’s everyday lives, contributions and stories are both told and included in our history.

 

As part of this day Julie Griffiths an Artist and facilitator from Donegal Changemakers a development education project lead a unique workshop entitled ‘Mighty Women’ commemorative plates a creative way of talking about and celebrating the women who have influenced and enrich our everyday lives.

 

We are delighted the Commemorative Plates created by the woman on the day will now been on display in Donegal Town, giving others the opportunity to see these unique piece and read about the women who influenced their creation. These unique plates will be on display in Simple Simon, Donegal Town from Thursday 5th March in celebration of International Women’s Day.

 

We would like take this opportunity to thank all the woman who participated in this event, the  stories their shared are inspiring and highlight why it’s so important women’s lives and voices are both valued and heard. And to Julie Griffiths and Simple Simon for organising and facilitating the display of these unique plates. We invite the community to stop by and see them 🙂

 

Equal Representation is a Basic Social Justice

balance for better

In 2019 of the 37 County Councillors in Donegal only 3 are women, that’s a 8.1% representation, the highest it’s ever been. At the national political level two women since 1918 have ever represented Donegal in Dáil Éireann. We need change.

This year’s International Women’s Day Theme is ‘Balance for Better’, it is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. While also asking people how will you help make a difference?

In honour of this day NCCWN Donegal Women’s Network in association with 50:50 North West invite you to come Celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 with us on Thursday 7th March in Donegal central library, Letterkenny 10am-1pm.

We’ll be discussing equal representation, chatting to female County Councillors and to women who will be running in the upcoming May Local Elections. We’ll also be joined by Historian Dr Angela Byrne who will be talking about the first woman in Donegal to be Elected as a councillor.

This will be an interactive and informative event, refreshments will be provided and all are welcome.

For more information you can contact NCCWN Donegal Women’s Network on donegalwomensnetwork@gmail.com or by phone on 074 9722790

A Local to Global International Women’s Day Celebration

international womens day

In many of our lives women play significant roles, from being mothers, daughters, sisters, grannies, aunts and cousins, but also as role models, providers, leaders, workers, carers, inventors, the list is endless.

Every year on the 8th March, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, a dedicated day about supporting the roles and acknowledging the achievements of women. We also honour women on this day because it remains the sad fact that women across the world continue to experience challenges and inequalities simply because they are women. So we further take the opportunity to raise awareness and show support for women’s rights and equality.

This year NCCWN-Donegal Women’s Network in partnership with Change Makers Donegal honoured women by holding a series of workshops with women from across Donegal and discussed with them how women are making a difference locally and globally, while also looking at the issues effecting women.

After discussing these issues groups created a series of collages around themes of equality, the influence media has on youth women’s lives, body image, pressure of the media, women’s health, women in politics and equal pay. Groups later shared their collages with other women at our International Women’s Day Event on 4th March, where the women took the time to reflect on their work and the work of others while also honouring the women in their own lives.

Groups who participated included;
• Raphoe Women’s Group
• Time Out for You (Women with Disabilities)
• Planet Youth Young Women’s Group
• Ernedale Heights Women’s Group
• Pettigo & Tullyhommon Women’s Group

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To gain a global perspective we also collected a number of personal tributes from people around the world, with contributions from Indonesia, Libya, Nepal, Afghanistan and Belgium.

We asked people to pay tribute and show their support for the equality of all women by sending us their responses to the following questions;

  • Why women are important to you?
  • What are the roles women in your life play?
  • What are your aspirations for women locally or globally?

People provided thoughtful and touching responses which were then used to create individual posters as shown below;

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The aim of this outreach was to build a global community of support for women while also inspiring women to realise and embrace the important role they play in the world and the influence they have in communities. And while 8th March is only one day in a year that we openly celebrate women, we hope that this work will be an inspiring change for International Women’s Day and beyond.

Happy International Women’s Day 🙂