Saturday 17 November 2018

Minister 'ridiculed' for speaking out in politics

Call: Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said women still feel they are in the minority
Call: Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said women still feel they are in the minority
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Minister of State Mary Mitchell O'Connor has opened up about the "ridicule" which she has experienced as a senior female politician.

In a speech celebrating 100 years since women were given the right to vote, Ms Mitchell O'Connor said she has been on the receiving end of "up-close-and-personal" ridicule when she raised objections during her political career.

"The ridicule that is used disproportionately against women who, if they protest, are described as whingeing," she said.

The minister also raised the plight of the victims of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein who have come forward with their stories of sexual violence.

"Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, we learned that women in a supposedly glamorous, moneyed and empowered businesses - the arts and entertainment - have been silenced in their thousands by violence and by law," she said. She said the victims were prevented from speaking out about their ordeals by gagging orders.

Ms Mitchell O'Connor's comments were made at a breakfast event celebrating Nollaig na mBan and 100 years since women received the right to vote held in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.

She used the speech to criticise the lack of women at board level.

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