A proud herstory

Cause for celebration on International Women’s Day

 

International Women’s Day is becoming so big it is spilling out of the sides of its restrictive daywear and is on the verge of covering an entire week.

Yesterday’s “Celebrate the Changemakers” event celebrated the gender quotas that played a part in seeing women take 22 per cent of Dail seats – an advance on the 15 per cent of seats they had become accustomed to in the 31st Dail.

On Sunday, Lian Bell picked up the Judge’s Special Award at The Irish Times theatre awards for her work with Waking The Feminists, a movement that saw women come out of the corner fighting when the Abbey Theatre announced a programme for the centenary of the 1916 Rising that was dominated by men.

On the same day, the Rotunda: The Birth of a Nation exhibition opened its doors. Celebrating the mark made on the Rising by five women, including Dr Kathleen Lynn, then chief medical officer with the Irish Citizen Army. These remarkable women would go down as well in 2016 as they did in 1916.

Today, 77 women who were imprisoned in Dublin’s Richmond Barracks after the Rising will be honoured with a book telling their stories and a quilt made by 77 of the women activists of 2016.

And the feminists are awake again at the Abbey where a meeting today will continue the conversation about women in Irish theatre.

International Women’s Day events go on all week all over Ireland and all over the world. Feminism is having a moment, embracing social media and spawning a multitude of hashtagged calls to action. Campaigns for the equal rights of women have a proud herstory and feminist causes have rightly had their “moments” throughout the ages.

It is a massive job for the women of 2016 and their male allies to make sure that this time the wave remains on the shore.

Happy International Women’s Day – however (and however long) you are celebrating.

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