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‘SORT OUR SMEARS’ CAMPAIGN

Screenshot 2019-04-23 at 14.35.32

NCCWN Donegal Women’s Network are inviting you to participant in the ‘SORT Our Smears’ CAMPAIGN, a community ‘art in activism’ project by visual artist Barbara O’Meara in collaboration with Karen Ward of Moon Mna Women’s Celtic Circles supported by the National Collective of Community Based Women’s Network’s (NCCWN)

The project is in response to the ongoing ‘Cervical Check’ Smear Test Scandal which broke last year. This ongoing scandal is affecting thousands of women across Ireland, threatening women’s health and wellbeing, and already resulted in the loss of 22 women’s lives in Ireland.

This month it was reported[1] there remains a backlog of 80,000 tests and delays of up to 33 weeks for a result. This situation is unacceptable and action is required from the government to address this situation now.

The ’Sort Our Smears’ Campaign was launched on 8th March for International Women’s Day and grassroot community workshops are currently being run to give women the opportunity through the use of art to express how you feel about the ongoing cervical smear test scandal which is impacting women’s healthcare in Ireland.

The project aim is to bring all the pieces created by women from across Ireland together to be put on Exhibition Nationally in Autumn 2019.

NCCWN Donegal are pleased to be a part of this project and will be running a number of art activism sessions in Donegal for women to participant in to express how they feel about the ‘Cervical Check’ Smear Test Scandal.

Confirmed dates include

8th May, Donegal Women’s Network, 6 Tír Chonaill Street Donegal Town; 10am-12.30pm,

9th May, Central Library Letterkenny, St Oliver Plunkett Road, 10.30am-1pm

27th May, Greencastle Community Centre, 12.00-2.30pm

Should you be a group interested in participating in a session please get in contact with us to discuss if we can facilitate one in your area too!

Places are limited so please sign up by filling in our online form here, we can also be contacted on donegalwomensnetwork@gmail.com or 074 9722790

 

To find out more about the campaign  ‘Sort Our Smears’ Campaign please see here.

For information for people concerned about Cervical Check please visit the HSE information page which can be found here.

[1] https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/harris-to-stand-over-free-tests-decision-amid-80000-backlog-37991909.html

smear college

Some the SORT OUR SMEARS art pieces already created by women in Ireland

smear college 1

 

 

Donegal WEAR Project

***Call for participation***

WEAR Flyer 5.4.17

Gender Equality is a fundamental human right.  Yet in 2017 women continue to face challenges and inequalities because of their gender, these include;

  • Employment Pay Gaps– “Women earn on average 15% less than men and at the top of the pay scale, 21% less.
  • Restricted Economic Opportunities– there are 128 countries with at least 1 legal difference restricting women’s economic opportunity.
  • Psychical and Sexual Violence– Global statistics show that 35% of women have experienced sexual violence in their life time. Only 52 counties criminalise rape within marriage. 2.6 Billion Live in a country that doesn’t.
  • Under Political Representation– Only 22 per cent of all national parliamentarians were female as of January 2015 (UN Women)
  • Lack of Access to Education– 1 in 5 girls of lower secondary age is out of school, 1 in 3 girls in the developing world is married by the age of 18.

NCCWN-Donegal Women’s Network are offering 20 places to women to take part in ‘The Wear Project’ a EU funded project supporting awareness to gender equality and human rights. The general objective of WEAR is that participants will have a better understanding of women’s human rights and gender equality and able to place their own lived experiences into human rights and global perspective and this making human rights and gender equality clear, real and relevant to women.

The project will deliver 5 gender equality focused workshops which will look at: 1) Poverty 2) Education 3) Health 4) Gender Based Violence, and 5) Representation & decision making. Workshops will begin at the end of April, finishing in early June, and will run on Tuesdays 10.00am until 1.00pm, in the Donegal Women’s Centre, Letterkenny.

Workshop’s are free and we can offer small contributions towards supporting participation (available on request). For more details please contact: Finola Brennan on donwomnet@eircom.net or 074 9722790

Sweet Treats for all this Easter?

easteregg_2868022bMost of us look forward to chocolate at this time of year, however, before we all get cracking on Easter celebrations, let’s consider the global supply chain – from  cocoa farming to the Easter eggs we buy for our loved ones, and choose to enjoy chocolate which is produced fairly without exploitation of others.

Chocolate and Human trafficking

Most of the chocolate we buy is produced from cocoa grown in West Africa where farmers can earn less than $2 a day. This in turn can result in farmers resorting to child labour and slavery to keep their prices competitive in the global market. This drive to keep cocoa prices low is fuelled by multinational companies and consumer’s desire and expectation of low cost chocolate. In the West, chocolate has become a low cost everyday item, often produced at the expense of other humans.

Human Trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. It is a crime which violates human rights. Thousands of children are trafficked to harvest cocoa beans. Children as young as 5 are forced to work long hours, in dangerous conditions with no pay and no access to education. Impoverished families in Ivory Coast, West Africa can be duped by traffickers into believing their children will earn money and receive education if they work on cocoa farms, some children are abducted from neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso and Mali- two of the poorest countries in the world. Some children will never see their families again.

What is being done to combat child labour and human trafficking in chocolate production?

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) works in partnerships with multinational companies aiming to combat the worst forms of child labour. Whilst many of the major chocolate manufactures are working towards combating trafficking and child labour in the supply chain, only a small percentage of products have a guarantee that the chocolate is fairly produced without human trafficking and child labour.

What we can do here in Donegal ?

Join the campaign to put pressure on chocolate manufacturers to guarantee all chocolate is fairly produced, and find out where in Donegal you can buy chocolate such as “Fair trade”- visit WWW.stopthetraffik.org

Human Trafficking is a crime which can take place anywhere, including areas such as Donegal, where recent arrests were made following reports of human trafficking and labour exploitation here Letterkenny.

We all have a role to play in being alert to the possibility of trafficking crimes and to report any concerns to Crimestoppers:  Tel: 1800 25 00 25, E-mail: Blueblindfold@garda.ie, www.blueblindfold.gov.ie.

The most common forms of trafficking are for: sexual exploitation and  forced labour.

Some of the barriers to potential victims of trafficking escaping :

  • Not knowing how to access help
  • Fear of retaliation by the traffickers to the victim or their family back in their home country.
  • Fear of deportation due to undocumented migrant status or passports/documents being withheld from the victims by traffickers or others.
  • No English- victims may have little or no knowledge of the local language.

Some of the signs of human trafficking- (for further info. see www.blueblindfold.gov.ie):

  • Women or men living in groups in poor conditions and working very long hours.
  • Women or men dependent on their employer for all their basic needs such as food, accommodation and transport.
  • Women or men living in the same place as they are working.

In The Long Run :- Ending human trafficking ‘one step at a time’

“In the Long run” is a Belgian based Oasis project, where a  team of runners, who have travelled over 1,000km along a major international human trafficking route, aim to  raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking, and provide information to communities about the issue of human trafficking.

The Donegal Anti Human Trafficking Group is welcoming the “In the Long Run” team to Letterkenny on 30th March 2016. Donegal YouthCouncil will be hosting an event and have invited the “In the Long Run” team to highlight the human trafficking issue.

 For more information see: ‘Donegal Anti-Human Trafficking Group’ on Facebook and ‘In The Long Run‘.

This feature was written by Catherine Brown as part of our Women’s Lives series to raise awareness to the local and global crime that is human trafficking. 

Happy Nollaig na mBán

This blog first featured in the Women’s Lives section of the Donegal Democrat in January 2015, By Samantha O’R

While waiting to be served in a shop I overheard two young women talking about how they had survived Christmas.

One woman had a young child in a buggy. He was smiling and happy with the attention being given to him by his mother and her friend.

In the discussions about managing over Christmas, I heard that both women spent Christmas at their mothers’, with one of the women saying “Sure where else would you go.”

This statement got me thinking. I was immediately struck by the thought /feeling/question: do mothers in particular get put upon at Christmas time without being asked?

Is there an assumption that mothers will automatically accept all-comers without prior arrangements or request. I know it is the season of goodwill and giving hospitality to visitors and family is a noble thing/gesture to do. But somehow the expectation is there; food, drink, accommodation, presents, babysitting, etc.

Perhaps young women would consider asking their mothers before Christmas “would it be okay to spend Christmas with them” as a courtesy and a consideration rather than as a given.

Little Christmas exemplifies the need for all women to get together for their own celebration after the sometimes burden and mayhem of big Christmas.

In celebration of the feast of the Epiphany in Ireland, January 6th is marked by Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Little Christmas. It is the tradition in Ireland that on this day for the women to get together and enjoy their own Christmas, while the men folk stay at home and handle all the chores. It is also common for children to buy their mothers and grandmothers presents on this day, though this custom is gradually being overtaken by Mother’s Day.

Although Nollaig na mBan is slowly dying out in many parts of Ireland, in Co. Cork, the tradition is still very strong. Many bars and restaurants in Cork City report a near 100% female clientele on this day, as the Corkonian women meet up with girl friends, sisters, aunts and mothers to celebrate their own little Christmas with Nollaig na mBan.

In Sligo, women got together in Osta Café and Wine Bar for the celebration and proceeds from fundraising on the night donated to Domestic Violence Service Sligo. Women in Ballyshannon also took the opportunity to mark this occasion and leave the menfolk at home.

In Donegal Town, Anne Leonard, who is part of the Walking Women of Donegal and The Mountcharles Heritage Group decided ‘to the take the bull by the horns’ this year and organise one.

“It was only last year when the Walking Women’s group first heard about it and agreed we must do something for 2014,” she said.

“So when nothing was happening I decided to get the ball rolling. I texted women I knew ‘I’m going if anyone wants to join me, let me know’.”

Over 35 women attended a sit down meal in the Abbey Hotel. A raffle was also organised and the €220 raised has been donated to Childline.

Little Christmas Donegal Town

Some of the Ladies who attended the Women’s Little Christmas Donegal Event in 2015

Eileen McGonigle said: “It was great fun and great to connect with women you hadn’t met for a long time as well as getting to know others better.” So good was the night that the Abbey Hotel already has a booking for 6th January 2015. Anne said: “It was a marvellous night, we had women travel from Ballyshannon and Glencolmcille. I hope we will have more women to celebrate with us next year.”

What a lovely way to start the year celebrating with other women and appreciating each other’s company.

We know that Christmas can be a stressful time but perhaps mothers at Christmas need a little bit of consideration before everyone descends on the home with a view that everything will be done and an attitude of “Sure where else would you go”. Alternatives on a postcard please!