Sunday 20 October 2019

International Women's Day: Are you a feminist?

(L-R) Hilary O Hagan-Brennan, Louise O'Reilly, Fatti Burke, Jane Swarbrigg, Danielle Winckworth
(L-R) Hilary O Hagan-Brennan, Louise O'Reilly, Fatti Burke, Jane Swarbrigg, Danielle Winckworth
Fatti Burke
Danielle Winckworth for White & Green
Image: Jane Swarbrigg/Instagram
Beauty: Irish model Louise O’Reilly Photo: David Conachy
Image: Hilary O Hagan Brennan/Twitter
Image: Emma Fraser

Caitlin McBride and Sophie Donaldson

To mark International Women's Day, we asked six Irish women what feminism means to them today.

Fatti Burke, Illustrator

Fatti Burke

"For me, feminism means equality and respect for all women worldwide - no matter their orientation, social status, religion or colour. The best thing about being a woman in Ireland today are the other women that I get to meet - online and in real life. Solidarity and support are big cornerstones of modern Irish feminism, and I know so many amazing women here who have my back when I need them​. The worst thing is having to protest for basic human rights.

​No one person or event in particular shaped my ideas about women's rights​ - I was just raised with the idea that I am no less than my brothers and that I am capable of whatever I want to achieve. My mind wasn't always clear on the complexities of feminism, and may have been misguided in the past, but having access to wonderful educational resources online has really solidified my beliefs in recent years.

​I can't speak for women worldwide, but in Ireland our most pressing issue is the fact that we are being denied bodily autonomy. This, along with the climate of everyday sexism and rape culture we inhabit, cements the notion that we are just vessels for other people to have control of. In one word, I'd describe feminism as equality."

Jane Swarbrigg, Director of Inglot Ireland

Image: Jane Swarbrigg/Instagram

"I strongly believe in equal rights, recognition and reward for women in every walk of life. Equality should be a given but sadly we often have to fight to attain what’s most important in this world.

Feminism in my eyes is about power and the liberation of all women to ensure they always have a choice and a voice!"

Louise O'Reilly, Model and Blogger

Beauty: Irish model Louise O’Reilly Photo: David Conachy

"Yes, I would consider myself a feminist. To me it's so broad, from supporting other women and celebrating their successes up to highlighting equal rights and human rights.

Working in the line of work I do, I think it's important to note that femininity and feminism are not mutually exclusive either. For example doing a beauty shoot or wearing a particular look doesn't make me any less of a feminist - the two can co-exist."

Danielle Winckworth, Creator of White & Green

Danielle Winckworth for White & Green

"I definitely consider myself a feminist.

Feminism to me is really just about equal rights. The misconception a lot of people have about feminism is thinking women deserve more or should be regarded as more than men, but this is absolutely not the case. It is simply about giving women a choice.

I still think we have a long way to go in Ireland in terms of freedom of choice and wage inequality. But overall, being a woman here is great and there is a lovely sense of empowering each other. We have amazing, strong and successful women in Ireland now more than ever!"

Hilary O Hagan-Brennan, Executive Chef at 3FE

Image: Hilary O Hagan Brennan/Twitter

"I do consider myself a feminist. To me, it means a society where your gender does not restrict you from success, whether that be education, employment or happiness. I feel really strongly about the employment one personally as I'm chef and its and a notoriously male dominated field with a lot of disparity when it comes pay and recognition for women in the industry. In my eyes we are all just chefs.

I have just returned from speaking at the Parabere Forum on behalf of Athrú in Barcelona, a symposium promoting gender parity in the food industry. Athrú was a symposium set up by some peers in the industry to address inequality in the culinary arts. Being a woman in 2017 is empowering."

Emma Fraser, Co-founder of Nine Crows and NotAnother Agency

Emma Fraser emmarfraser • Instagram photos and videos.png
Image: Emma Fraser

"For me, feminism is simple. If you believe men and women are equal and should be treated so then you are a feminist. It's as simple as that.

The best thing about being a woman in Ireland in 2017 is that we have the opportunity to be part of changing history and making this country a safer place for future generations of women. The energy around the repeal the 8th campaign is inspiring and it's the starting point for the women of this country standing up and saying, 'You can't do this to us anymore, we are here and we are not going anywhere until we get what we deserve'. I feel very privileged to be part of a generation that will witness changes that women have been fighting for for years. It is only the beginning and the repealing the 8th amendment is only the first step.

The worst part of being a woman in Ireland is that we don't have control over our own bodies. I also find that cat-calling women on the street is still accepted in our society, which is unacceptable and needs to be changed.

I was raised and influenced by strong, independent women. My mother and grandmother taught me to be strong and that I was able to achieve anything I put my mind to. I was given the tools to have the confidence to work for myself in a world dominated by men. I am influenced daily by the strong women of this country who have been fighting for their rights for years and years."

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