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If I could have one wish granted for women...


Lynn Ruane, Joan Burton and Miriam O'Callagahn

Lynn Ruane, Joan Burton and Miriam O'Callagahn

Grainne Seoige

Grainne Seoige

Louise Kennedy

Louise Kennedy


Lynn Ruane, Joan Burton and Miriam O'Callagahn

On International Women's Day, Niamh Horan asks various luminaries what one change they'd like to see to improve women's lives

Joan Burton, Tanaiste and Labour TD

My wish would be to see women get good jobs and good pay and affordable childcare and pre-school education. I would also like to see us have women in equal numbers in the Dail. Since independence there's only been 100 women in the Dail and 14 in Cabinet. We have come a long way but we have a very long way to go yet.

Miriam O'Callaghan, TV presenter

My wish would be that we stop putting up our own glass ceilings. I think sometimes we put glass ceilings above ourselves, and that is confidence. I also think women should start supporting each other more and stop judging each other as much. As a mother, I think childcare is crucial. Boys and girls start out equally but then you get older and have a baby, and no one tells you how difficult it is to mind children and juggle work. And though husbands are superb, childcare isn't the same issue for them.

Lynn Ruane, President-elect Trinity College Students' Union

If I could change one thing it is to stop 30,000 single parents losing their one-parent family payments on July 1. The Government wants to switch this to job-seekers allowance but there isn't jobs at community level. And if you are an under-educated and unqualified mother it will just increase dependency. If the Government goes ahead with this they are just pushing women further into poverty.

Louise Kennedy, Fashion designer

More confidence and more mentoring would be wonderful for all women. The value and power of mentoring cannot be over-estimated, especially when encouraging young women to be persistent in pursuing their goals.

Louise Phelan, Vice-president, Global Operations at PayPal

My wish would be that more Irish women would have a bigger voice in organisations. If you want diversity of thought then you must include everyone's voice, not just women's - diversity is not only about gender it's about having diversity of thought at all levels in any organisation

Patricia Quinn, Managing Director of Irish Non-Profits Project

My wish for today is that our daughters would make common cause with their sisters in the developing world to whom the conditions of our lives as women must look like paradise.

Paula Neary, Client Director at Accenture

My wish would be to see more women in science, engineering and maths so we can have more influence on our future as we advance in a technological age. I think it comes down to a lack of visible role models in these fields for young girls and also a lot of parents not understanding the opportunities for girls in these areas. I think girls choose jobs where they would like to have an impact on society, you can definitely do that in these fields.

Katherine Zappone Senator and co-founder of An Cosan

There is no question in my mind that the most important thing for women in this country is that the Government starts moving towards a Nordic level of education. My wish would be that they have a public system where the State takes responsibility for education from zero up, they don't come in at five years of age like they do here, and leave it up to the mothers prior to that.

Olivia O'Leary, Broadcaster and writer

Off the top of my head, paid paternity leave - which would ease those difficult first six months for mothers - would be the most immediate help I can think of.

Jackie Lavin, Businesswoman

My wish would be that women would unite and stop the harsh criticism of one another. Dress for themselves. Chill out and sod the begrudgers.

Rosanna Davison, Model and nutritionist

Without a doubt I wish that women would receive equality in the workplace and equal pay to men.

Grainne Seoige, TV presenter

I feel Irish women, like women all over the world, have been on, and are on, a journey, to gain more say over their choices, in love, health and life. When you look back at the path we've been on even in the last three or four generations to secure, for example, a vote or contraception, these are rights we now take for granted but were hard-fought for. I think we need to reflect firstly, and be grateful for the bravery of our mothers and continue to strive to hold that strength close and remember not to be hard on each other. Every one of us walks our own path. Let's not judge but show compassion and love.

Sunday Independent