The Women’s Podcast: Abortion stories, dressing for success and suffragettes

Episode three: Kathy Sheridan talks to Tara Flynn and Roisin Ingle about their abortion stories while Sonya Lennon and Joi Gordon discuss the power of dressing for success

Joi Gordon and Sonya Lennon on Dress for Success

Joi Gordon and Sonya Lennon on Dress for Success


Comedian and writer Tara Flynn talked publicly about her abortion for the first time at an Amnesty event at Electric Picnic, but this week on The Women’s Podcast she tells how her story was published anonymously in The Irish Times a few years ago.

Flynn had answered a call for anonymous stories and met with journalist Kathy Sheridan, who said they “were like a pair of spies” in the café where the conversation took place.

“You become a spy when you have a crisis pregnancy in Ireland,” Flynn tells Sheridan, presenter of The Women’s Podcast in episode three.

“I’m only sharing my story because I wanted to personalise it and not let people away with making it an abstract problem, one that we can sweep under the carpet again.”

“When things are anonymous, people can brush them aside fairly easily. It’s quite easy to forget them because you don’t have a name, a face. It doesn’t seem real.”

Also on the podcast , Irish Times columnist and Daily Features Editor Róisín Ingle tells Sheridan about the public response since she wrote about her own abortion two weeks ago and about a woman in her late 70s who in response said she had never before spoken about an abortion that took place decades previously.

Listen up:

“She said that if she’d told anyone about her abortion, her family would have disowned her. But if she’d had that baby, her family would also have disowned her,” Ingle tells Sheridan, adding that it is important to reflect on the damage caused by decades of silence on the issue.

Later in episode three, Una Mullally reviews Suffragette, the new movie starring Carey Mulligan coming to Irish screens on October 30th. And Irish Times journalist Laura Slattery speaks to two women at the top of the Dress for Success organisation about the intersection of clothing and career confidence.

The organisation’s CEO, Joi Gordon, talks about its origins in Harlem, New York in 1997, where the collaboration between a woman with a $5,000 inheritance and a group of nuns working with disadvantaged people in the community sparked the idea of solving a catch-22.

“How do you get the suit if you don’t have the job, and how to do get the job if you don’t have the suit? So we gave women the suits, and it’s now exploded into an organisation that does so much more than clothe women. It really gives women confidence,” Gordon tells Slattery.

And Sonya Lennon, founder of Dress for Success Dublin, and a fashion designer whose Lennon Courtney collection has just debuted in Dunnes Stores, talks about what to wear to an interview.

Listeners are invited to answer our question of the week ahead of The Women’s Podcast tribute to Alanis Morissette’s album Jagged Little Pill, which turned 20 this year:

What album has had the biggest impact on your life and why?

Send your answers via Facebook and Twitter at IT Women’s Podcast or email us at

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