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Many of us were absolutely RAISED on Disney when we were kids. We grew up with the incredible cinema releases of The Lion King, Aladdin, Cinderella, Mulan and The Little Mermaid, and it changed our lives forever.

The Disney princess role has changed as the generations got older (and more feminist), bringing more progressive films with 3D female characters such as Brave, Frozen, Moana, The Princess and the Frog and Tangled.

Kiera Knightly recently spoke out against the films, saying that her three-year-old daughter is banned from watching them in her home.

keira knightley smiling GIF

When asked why, she said to "rescue yourself!" from the prince is a far better message to send to young women; "Cinderella waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t." Right on, gal, right on. Fight the power.

However, when we were watching the classic princess films as children, I highly doubt we realised at the time just how YOUNG they all are, which arguably makes the movies seem a tad creepy.

It's basically teens getting sexualised and sent off to live with a man who has privilege over them forever.

For decades, young girls have been seeing these characters as role models; they're compassionate, fierce, caring, brave and highly intelligent.

Many of the gals are preparing for marriage, but they're in their mid-teens. Seems a little weird, considering the men they're marrying are often at least ten years older.

For example. Pocahontas' age in the film was never confirmed, but in real life she actually met John Smith when she was just a 10 year old girl. Ew.

First up: Princess Jasmine. Aladdin's bae was only 15-years-old in the film, as a recent The Mary Sue article pointed out. So when she's dressed in red and is seducing Jafar (a creepy old man), she's officially underage…

princess jasmine disney GIF

A key portion of the film revolves around the fact that she's obliged to marry a prince before her sixteenth birthday, which is three days away.

The Mary Sue also noted that Jasmine is a highly sexualised character, with Jafar commanding the genie to force her to love him. Alright…we're officially disturbed.

Plus, that waist-line is a fantasy; she'd fit maybe half an organ in there if she's lucky.

HuffPost has previously pointed out that none of the 'official' Disney princesses are older than 19, even though most of them are wed or engaged by the end of each of their respective movies.

Ariel is a sixteen-year-old who claims to be an adult, while Eric is the ripe old age of 18. So in today's day-and-age, it would be illegal for them to marry.

Granted, these films are purely fantasy, but it's pretty strange how they design the princesses as sexualised teenagers who always end up with an older man.

If this next one doesn't shock you, we don't know what will. Snow White is just 14 YEARS OLD when she meets her prince, and escapes from a cruel queen who tries to cut out her heart out of vanity.

The prince also kisses her while she's KO'd; problematic as f*ck.

snow white kiss GIF

Kristen Bell has also pointed out issues with Snow White as a film, which was the first colour Disney animation and was released back in 1938.

“Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission?” Bell says she asked her daughters. “Because you can not kiss someone if they’re sleeping!” Hello, consent?

Fairy tales don’t have a stable form, and every era rewrites centuries old fairy tales to fit it's specific agenda or zeitgeist. Many Disney princesses were based on the 1812 Brothers Grimm tales.

drunk kristen wiig GIF

They changed their book of stories to adapt to 19th-century German bourgeois family values, so why can't we update them in 2019?

Cinderella was transformed into a live-action remake recently, but ZERO alterations were made. 

Our Chinese hero warrior Mulan, famous for it's WHOPPER tunes like I'll Make a Man Out of You: she's also sixteen. Yet she has to nurture a fragile toxic male ego, and marries him in the end.

Ok, then, it took a woman to fix a man's dodgy job and her reward is a lifetime of obedience. Sleeping Beauty's Aurora was also 16-years-old, and we've got another classic case of non-consent.

sleeping beauty kiss GIF

While Disney has 100 percent made improvements for it's female characters, like Frozen's Queen Elsa and Princess Anna especially, and Brave's Merida (also 16); it's important to be aware of the classic films and their morals.

The live-action Aladdin doesn't arrive for another few months (May 24 to be exact), we have no idea if Jasmine will be a more marriage-appropriate age. The actress cast to play her is 25-years-old, at least.

Naomi Scott isn't a teenager, so let's hope her character isn't either.  Scott told Entertainment Weekly that her character’s goal is “really to protect her people, to do right by them," in December, so we have high hopes.

The eye-wateringly hot Marwan Kenzari has been cast as Jafar in the live-action flick, and he looks FAR younger than the animated character. He's a certified thirst trap.

We're relieved they're moving away from the creepy-old-man game, thank God. The movie looks intriguing, if just for a blue Will Smith as the genie. (Check out those memes about him, they're amazing)

Bring on the badass empowered female princesses, like Meghan Markle and the Thai princess Ubolratana who recently attempted to run for Prime Minister. Get it, gurls.

Feature image: knowyourmeme.com

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Seeing as 80 percent of young women say they feel more confident as a result of playing for their national team, why not encourage their dream to become a reality?

Boots Ireland has kicked off their three-year partnership with the Republic of Ireland Women's National Team to nurture this confidence in girls and women, and we're loving the support.

Only seven percent of the Irish population have attended a live women's sporting event, which is pretty shocking. Women in sport aren't celebrated as much as their male counterparts, which needs to change.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by FAIreland (@faireland) on

According to a Boots survey, 76 percent of the Irish population believe that female sports stars should be equally celebrated, but sponsorships can help to draw in the funds needed to air the matches.

Legendary Republic of Ireland captain and Arsenal midfielder Katie McCabe announced the partnership between the national team and Boots Ireland to boost confidence in our sporty ladies.

Recent research from UEFAi found that awareness and participation in women’s football has created a powerful impact on the confidence of girls and women, with the Women's World Cup this year drawing in record numbers of viewers. The demand for women in sport is definitely there. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@katie_mccabe11) on

The Irish national team is currently competing in the UEFA Women’s Championship qualifiers, kicking off this September with Ireland facing off against Montenegro.

Interestingly, one-third of women feel great about themselves while playing sport, while 31 percent of women who play sports feel happier. 45 percent feel healthier, so what's to lose?

As part of the partnership, Boots will be shining a light on the amazing role models within the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team, who will be inspiring the next generation of female footballers and sportswomen.

Republic of Ireland Captain Katie McCabe said: “I am delighted to launch the partnership between Boots Ireland and the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@katie_mccabe11) on

"As a team, we have a big couple of months ahead, with qualifying for the European Championships starting next month. It was great to see the women’s game get the exposure it deserves during the Women’s World Cup.”

Women's football is growing in every area; be it commercial, participation and performance. Our gals are going from strength to strength, and we owe it to them to support the team.

Boots Ireland hopes to encourage more women and girls to get involved in the great game by watching, supporting and playing football, whilst feeling good too.

Feature image: Instagram/@katie_mccabe11

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Doctors have stated that the lack of consultants in Irish hospitals is having a "serious effect" on Irish women's healthcare.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) have released figures showing 28,417 women are currently waiting to see a gynaecologist in Ireland.

5,394 women are waiting over 12 months, and there has been a 40 percent increase since 2014 in the number of women waiting to see a consultant gynaecologist nationally.

Gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Peter Boylan has stated to the Irish Mirror that the problem could be seriously detrimental to Irish women's health.

"Unfilled specialist posts are making it difficult for women to be seen in a timely fashion," he said.

"Our waiting lists for outpatients are among the worst in the world… and that's having a really serious effect on women's health and well-being." 

3,469 women are waiting for the Rotunda Hospital to offer them an appointment with a gynaecologist. 3,148 women are waiting in Tallaght Hospital, and 2,099 are waiting for the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

Galway University Hospital has 1,898 women waiting, with 1,783 in Letterkenny General Hospital, 1,522 in Portlaoise Hospital and 1,468 in Limerick University Hospital.

The consultant recruitment and retention crisis is a big factor in rising numbers of Irish women now waiting, according to the IHCA.

One-in-five or over 500 of all permanent consultant posts nationally are now empty or only temporarily filled, leading to long periods of wait times to access essential healthcare services.

The IHCA claim that the Government's consistent support for a "failed policy" is resulting in "the unique and extremely damaging" salary cut which consultants appointed since 2012 have been served.

New consultants are being paid up to 51 percent less than their colleagues, despite having some of the same job responsibilities.

Pay parity needs to be restored for new consultants, rather than driving them abroad to countries like Australia who will pay them accordingly.

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“The world is disturbingly comfortable with the fact that women sometimes leave a sexual encounter in tears.” Lili Loofbourow

According to a recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, about 30 percent of women report feeling pain during vaginal intercourse.

This alarming statistic is only recorded amongst women who are even comfortable speaking to doctors about sex, meaning that a far greater number could be more accurate.

Another hugely concerning fact which the study expressed is that "large proportions" of women don't tell their partners when sex hurts, they simply grin and bear it.

This testifies to the notion that women often sacrifice their pleasure, not to mention their comfort, for male satisfaction. The assumption that “bad sex” simply means the absence of pleasure is a naïve one- for many women, “bad sex” can mean extreme discomfort and even agony.

Debby Herbenick, an academic from the Indiana University School of Public Health and one of those who incentivised the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behaviour, confirmed this suggestion.

"When it comes to 'good sex,'" she commented, "women often mean without pain, men often mean they had orgasms."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Pelvic Floor PTWPB,FL (@healthycorept) on

The satisfaction scale for men and women is clearly imbalanced. Painful sex isn’t the rare outlier that it’s proclaimed to be, in fact, it’s far more widespread than imagined.

For some women, such as those suffering from illnesses such as endometriosis, ectopic pregnancies and vaginismus, it’s part of their reality.

For others, they are in need of more foreplay, lubrication or comfort. Anxiety and tension can have a drastic impact on female sexual pleasure. 

There are dozens of possible reasons why you could be experiencing pain during sex, ranging from the physical to the psychological.

The troubling thing is that so many of these reasons are not well-known, and they are scarcely researched or prioritised in our healthcare systems.

Dyspareunia is the medical term for painful sex, and can be a deeply distressing condition which takes a massive emotional toll on those who experience it.

According to another scientific article on women’s pain:

“Approximately 15% of women have chronic dyspareunia that is poorly understood, infrequently cured, often highly problematic, and distressing.”

The stigma surrounding problems such as the ones mentioned above is part of the reason why women aren’t discussing their sexual pain, especially not with healthcare practitioners.

Even if a woman feels willing and able to discuss her sex life with her doctor, the lack of research into female pain in general as well as in sexual medicine means that even more barriers crop up.

Sexual assault arguably can also contribute towards experiencing pain during future sexual encounters.

Numerous studies support the idea that a mental block is created surrounding sex, which lives with survivors long after their attack.

Without a healthy view of sex and positive sexual experiences, women are not being given the tools to vocalise their pain.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gynatrof (@gynatrof) on

Other disorders such as vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, interstitial cystitis, vaginitis, vaginal atrophy, fibroids, lichen sclerosus and lichen planus (skin disorders), ovarian cysts and endometriosis have all been grossly under-reported, and awareness of these conditions is extremely limited.

Yeast infections, overly tight pelvic floor muscles, bowel problems and hormonal imbalances can also be major contributors to pain during sex, as well as STI’s.

BBC Three has recently aired a visceral visual essay series, where director Sindha Agha decided to artistically depicted the female experience of painful sex.

The beautiful video uses colourful imagery and imaginative props such as glass, metal nails, sprinkles, knives and fruit to parallel with the emotional narration:

Endometriosis sufferer Rhoda Hierons reads her own words aloud with a gorgeous and vivid backdrop, describing the pain of sex as “glass shattering inside you and embedding itself”.

Sindha Agha emotively explains the meaning behind her video: “I’m trying to create an external language for women’s innermost experiences,” she claims.

“As women, I feel we’ve been led to believe that many of our experiences are indescribable, incommunicable; that even when we can figure out how to talk about what happens inside our bodies and our minds, that we’d better not — that others don’t want to hear it because it’s too gross, too sad, too strange. Above all, that we won’t be understood."

System injustices in healthcare need to change if women ever want to truly understand and gain respect for their own bodies.

Women have never been given the tools to communicate their pain, especially not during sex. Language is not in a woman’s favour, even the medical understanding of the female anatomy is not where it should be.

Without the words, women cannot use language to communicate.

Without language, there is no voice that can even attempt to ask for the help that they desperately need. 

For more information, check out some of these informative websites on pain and female sexual health:

Mayo Clinic – Dyspareunia

https://www.mazewomenshealth.com/painful-sex-vaginal-pain/

Ask Me About My Uterus -New York Times

Centre for Vulvo-Vaginal Disorders

https://Sexual Advice Association UK

https://YouTube- Pelvic Pain

https://rebelliousmagazine.com/guide-reclaiming-pleasurable-sex-dyspareunia-beyond/ 

American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists

Vulval Pain Society

Endometriosis Society of Ireland

Feature image: Agnes Cecile/Instagram/@agnes_cecile

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We all know that girls run the world, because if Beyoncé said it, then by God it must be true.

Online fashion giant PrettyLittleThing have been doing their best to promote female empowerment and body positivity, and now they've majorly stepped up their inclusion game.

The brand have launched #everyBODYinPLT, a campaign to involve absolutely everyone in their clothing lines in honour of International Women's Day.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by PrettyLittleThing.com (@prettylittlething) on

The new collection dropped today, and is set to be a sell-out hit; filled with a range of body types, abilities and ethnicities. We heart.

The clothes have got serious girl boss slogans on them, such as "Girl, you got this", "Girl Gang", "GRL PWR" and "Go Girl." All the things we need to hear when we're feelin' down in the dumps, despite our female badass-ery.

Better yet, the company are celebrating womankind by donating all proceeds to WAGGGS, the world's only movement for every girl and any girl. They believe that each of them deserves to be the best they can be.

WAGGGS represent 10 million girls in 150 countries, helping them to develop their leadership skills and empowering them to use their important voice for change in their communities and countries.

We support their ideal that all girls are valued, and have a place in this world.

Lauren Rose, Lauren Mahon, Mari Malek, Yasmin Jay, Giuliana Farfalla, Danielle Candray and Madison Lawson model the garments for the brand's cause, and look absolutely stunning while they're at it.

International Women's Day falls on March 8 every year, and works to promote issues around the globe for women that need progress and change.

Cheers to building up your fellow gal-pals; fly that flag for female friendships and sisterhoods for life.

Check out the #everyBODYinPLT collection online now, and pledge your allegiance to inclusive clothing.

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When it comes to marriage advice, we're pretty sceptical. It nearly always comes across as patronising, annoying, or just plain sexist. Men don't get the constant stream of wedding and baby pressure that women do.

There's no shortage of dating advice online and in magazines, even in books like He's Just Not That Into You.

It's time to turn to better sources for comfort, and ones from back in time. The Suffragette's seem like a good place to start… They fought for the right to vote and now we want the right NOT to devote.

Seeing as it's Valentine's Day, it would be rude of us not to share this HILARIOUS piece of advice from a "suffragette wife" which went viral, acccording to Stylist.

The advice was first penned in 1911, and it's still hella relevant today. Entitled 'Advice on Marriage to Young Ladies', the gal holds nothing back and takes zero prisoners.

The first tip? "Do not marry at all." She's starting us off with a big one, that's for sure.

Continuing, the woman writes about the types of men to avoid. Think modern day f*ckboys. She refers to them as, “the Beauty Men, Flirts, and the Bounders, Tailor’s Dummies, and the Football Enthusiasts”.

When it comes to decent marriage prospects, choose a "strong, tame man" who is involved in practical professions, such as a "Fire-lighter, Coal-getter, Window Cleaner and Yard Swiller”. We haven't a notion what a yard swiller is, but it sounds chic.

The suffragette also tells us that the standard of men is dastardly low; most are “lazy, selfish, thoughtless, lying, drunken, clumsy, heavy-footed, rough, unmanly brutes, and need taming”.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Best Movie (@bestmovietr) on

How do you tame a man back in 1911, and today? The answer is pretty obvious: food. "Feed the brute," in her words. LOL. 

Her final tip recalls her first; you'd "be wiser not to chance" marriage, because it "isn't worth the risk." The post was shared last year as well and also went viral, so it seems that modern day women can still relate to the tip sheet.

It's over 100 years old, but still resonates with today's audience. Interesting, does that mean men haven't progressed at all, or we're still stuck in 1911? We can't tell…

Feature image: The Guardian

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Lady Gaga has spoken out against the backlash regarding Cardi B's historic Grammy win for Best Rap Album.

The Joanne artist took to Twitter to express her pride in the Bodak Yellow rapper, who is the first solo woman to ever win the accolade.

Praising the rap star and social media personality, Gaga wrote;

"It is so hard to be a woman in this industry. What it takes, how hard we work through the disrespectful challenges, just to make art. I love you Cardi. You deserve your awards."

She concluded by telling her fans to "celebrate her fight. Lift her up & honoor her", calling Cardi "brave" for entering an industry which is notoriously difficult for women.

Cardi B was also pregnant with baby Kulture Kiara while recoding Invasion of Privacy, and worked tirelessly for months to finish it. The rapper has faced criticism over her Grammy win, with some claiming she is undeserving.

The duo became instant pals after meeting at the Grammy, after Cardi approached the A Star Is Born actress and legit fan-girled. 

In 2016, Cardi tweeted about the Mother Monster's huge impact on her life: "When I was a teenager lady Gaga changed my life," she wrote. "She inspired me to be myself & be different." Gaga replied "Love you girl."

Cardi beat Travis Scott, Pusha T, Nipsey Hussle and Mac Miller in her category for the Best Rap Album Grammy, with Ariana Grande tweeting her disappointment that her deceased ex-boyfriend Mac Miller didn't win posthumously.

The rapper thanked her fans on Sunday night, and then uploaded then deleted an expletive-laden clip defending her hard work on Invasion of Privacy

"You know what, it's not my style for people to put other people down to uplift somebody else. That's not my style and that's not what I'm with and I don't support that, however I've been taking a lot of sh*t today," Cardi told the camera.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Cardi B & Beyoncé Updates (@beycardib) on

She continued; "I'm seeing a lot of bullsh*t today and I saw a lot of sh*t last night and I'm sick of this sh*t. I work hard for my mother f*cking album."

She referred to last year's criticism, which was supportive of her in comparison to this year;

"Everybody was like, 'Cardi got snubbed! Cardi got snubbed!' Now this year's a f–king problem? My album went two times platinum my n*gga and every chart that there was my album was always top ten, number one album as well!"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Cardi's baby Kulture was born on July 10 last year, and fell pregnant while creating the winning album;

"I f–king worked my a– off, locked myself in the studio for three months my n—a and then went to sleep in my own bed sometimes for four days straight—pregnant!" she said about it.

"Some songs couldn't even get on the f–king album because my nose was so f–king stuffy from my pregnancy." Chance the Rapper was another artist who jumped to her defence, as well as J. Cole:

Chance the Rapper called her victory "overly deserved," with J. Cole writing: "I don't never wanna be propped up by tearing somebody else down. Seeing Cardi B win a Grammy make me feel like I won."

Cardi re-tweeted the messages, saying; 

"I listen to my album and I cry because I know the hell I went through doing the album is always a bittersweet memory," she typed alongside Chance's screenshot.

"THANK YOU EVERYONE THAT SUPPORTED ME AND LISTEN. I'm thankful and grateful and again thank you to all the artist that gave me a feature."

Lady Gaga has been outspoken about how difficult the music world is for women, saying at the Golden Globes: "As a woman in music it is really hard to be taken seriously."

The 32-year-old wrote her award-winning song Shallow about communication and having your voice heard;

"This song is a conversation between men and women. Asking each other questions about life and a desire for more depth of the shallowness of a modern era."

We LOVE seeing women support other women, keep it up Gaga.

Feature image: Instagram/thebrainstormersshow

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We all know sleep deprivation can lead to some major health issues, but according to researchers in Duke University, loss of sleep effects women harder than men.

The study surveyed 210 men and women aged between 18 and 65. They were asked about the quality of their sleep, and frequency as well as other health measures like psychological distress and physical well-being.

The researchers found that not getting enough sleep on a regular basis is linked with hints of higher rates of inflammation, elevated stress levels, blood sugar regulation problems, increased hostility, and a heightened risk of depression… But, only in women.

 

 

As well as that, the more problems women had sleeping, the higher their body mass indexes were.

Yep, we're thinking WTF too.

The researchers suggest that this is because women don't have as much testosterone which can protect the body's cells from inflammation and may also protect the brain and other organs from sleep deprivation and stress.

As for the weight gain? Well, the authors of the study think that the balance of our hormones are to blame and can be thrown totally out of whack if we don't get enough sleep.

The researchers suggest that rather trying to boost your testosterone levels, developing a solid bedtime routine should do the trick, and giving yourself more time to fall asleep will help, too.

So now you have ample opportunity to tell your other half to shut up in the middle of the night. It's justified, right?

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“We’ve let our hair out, gone back to work and made our voices heard, so why are we still putting up with uncomfortable and painful sex?”

Now THAT, Durex, is a great question. One that we're SO glad advertisers are starting to ask, seeing as women make up the huge majority of consumers. It's hella dumb not to cater for our needs, if you ask us.

The renowned condom brand also have a range of lubricants, which they are marketing with a pretty great ad, if we do say so ourselves.

The ad uses examples of women fighting for our rights, using our voices to protest, to work, to rebel against societal norms, but yet many of us don't speak out against painful or uncomfortable sex.

Dryness down there is such a common aspect of our daily lives, and the ad points out that our body lubricates itself differently depending on our hormones and the time of the month.

It's perfectly normal that a lot of us would need a little help sometimes with the 'ol lube. Especially during sex, when most heterosexual men don't seem to realise that we need water for the slide to be fun, so to speak.

An advert which shows a protester, female body hair and a working mum is refreshing, so we're even more chuffed that they brought painful sex into the equation.

Millions of women face this issue in their lives, and it can be incredibly frustrating. We all deserve to enjoy sex and have as many (multiple) orgasms as physically possible, and lube is a tool in our armoury to help us achieve that.

Take a look at the video below;

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Women for Election CEO Ciairín de Buis has called on women to run in elections this coming May, and for parties to encourage female candidates.

There have been more Seáns and Johns than elected to Dáil Éireann that women overall, according to  data analysis of all elected TDs since 1918

Yesterday saw a crowded audience gather in the Royal College of Physicians on Kildare Street to hear a panel discussion organised by Women for Election, titled; “Will 2019 be Ireland's Year of #MoreWomen?” 

The panel was chaired by journalist Alison O'Connor, and included Lisa Chambers TD (Fianna Fáil), TD (Green Party), Senator Alice-Mary Higgins (Independent), Cllr Madeleine Johansson (People Before Profit) and Kate O'Connell TD (Fine Gael).

The event asked politicians about the chance of more women running and winning elections this year, and how parties are taking action to help improve gender balances in the political sphere.

In our last local elections in 2014, only 21 percent of electives were female councillors, compared to 16 percent in 2009.

There has undoubtedly been a swell in political activism in Ireland over the last few years, especially due to the Repeal movement, and the panel were discussing whether this energy would make it to the polls and ballots.

Women for Election CEO Ciairín de Buis commented; “2019 has at least two elections, possibly more. Last year we held a series of training events in Dublin, Cork and Galway covering communication strategies, campaigning and canvassing."

He continued; I’ve met dozens of women who are running in the locals and Europeans this year. We’ve also worked with women and their campaign team who are preparing for the next General Election, whenever that may be.”  

22 percent of TDs are women currently, a historic high, but still too low.

De Buis continued; “The appetite for more women to enter politics is there and I, and Women for Election, want to help any woman thinking about running to have the courage and confidence to put her name on the ballot, either with a party nomination or as an independent.”  

Green Party leader and TD Eamon Ryan mentions the praise-worthy work of former Green Party TD and former Minister of State Mary White’s role in the establishment of gender quotas for party candidate lists. 

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell refers to the centennial celebration of certain women securing the right to vote, noting that this has added to the conversation around women's role in politics in Ireland.

“The celebration of 100 years since some women first achieved the right to vote has focused the mind on our incomplete democracy,” says Deputy O’Connell. 

“Whilst mindful of the progress we have made in terms of female representation it is still shocking that 78% of those in Dáil Éireann are men.

"Leaders must now act by example. The time for acceptance of anything less than an equal male to female ratio is nigh on over." she concluded.

Non-for-profit Women for Election will be hosting training throughout 2019 for women, as well as hopefully organising an online course.

Feature image: www.womenforelection.ie 

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It really is the year of nostalgia; Between the Spice Girls, Westlife and Carrie Bradshaw, it's clearly comeback o'clock. 

News recently broke that one of the biggest legends of the early 2000s is making a musical return, with her sophomore album expecting to be released before the end of 2019.

That's right gals, it's only SAMANTHA MUMBA.

We've all got more than fond memories of tunes such as Gotta Tell You and Always Come Back To Your Love, and soon we'll be hearing brand new music from the versatile singer.

We sat down for a chat with the woman herself, and once our starstruck fever calmed down, we managed to ask her a few questions.

There have been whispers of musical comebacks for many years now, considering her first album Gotta Tell You was released back in 2000 when she was only sixteen-years-old. 

While the rest of us were figuring out creative ways to abandon school for a few hours and day-dreaming of Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell, Samantha was making CHUNES.

So why choose now to release her long-awaited album number two? Samantha is a woman of many talents, trying her hand at Masterchef in 2017, as well as appearances in Dancing On Ice and on ITV's Loose Women.

“It’s been in the works for a couple of months, so for me I did Manchester Pride last summer, and I was so blown away by the response. As I was onstage I was literally like, why don’t I have any new music to perform? This is stupid, like it’s ridiculous. I’m one of those people who gets in their own way all the time. Even if I think of doing something, I’ll think of 20 reasons not to do it. I thought, ‘No, enough it enough’. I was afraid to do it again. The timing just feels good, and now I’m seeing that everyone is coming back, I thought, ‘What is going on?’ Hang on a second, I was coming back first!”

Needless to say, her fans are EXCITED.

Damn right she was. Samantha's popularity with a range of audiences and people of all ages has to be noted, but why do so many listeners seem to relate to her?

“That’s a great question, and I don’t really know the answer. It’s just one of those things, a nostalgia thing. I also think because I was so young when I started, a lot of people literally feel, and they have, like they’ve grown up with me. People have even stopped me in the street to say, ‘Oh hey, how are you?’ as if they know me. I’ve been around for a while, I think there’s that kind of connection where people have really gotten behind me, it’s like I’m a cousin of theirs. It’s that kind of thing, it’s brilliant.”

Samantha still returns home to Dublin fairly regularly, and her little daughter Sage calls it her home too. We wondered if she had stayed up to date on Ireland's current homelessness crisis?

“It’s scandalous, it’s absolutely shocking. That’s why I thought this Just Eat campaign was just such a no-brainer. I’d love if they could double what they did last year, which in itself was incredible. Even especially being home at the minute, and it’s so cold, you just think, ‘Oh my God’, it’s not right. There’s a lot of young kids that are homeless, and it’s heartbreaking. Being a mother now myself, it’s just awful. You never know what goes on in someone’s life, it can happen to anybody, you just never know what kind of bad things could come somebody’s way. It can happen to everybody, and everybody should chip in," she says.

She's partnered up with Just Eat this year for their annual National Takeaway Tuesday to raise funds for the Peter McVerry Trust, who do vital work for the homeless. To date, Just Eat customers have generated over €50,000 for the Peter McVerry Trust, enough to move five people out of homelessness and into better futures.

Samantha comments; "This takeaway campaign is perfect, because you can order food on a Tuesday, get a 10 percent discount and chip in 10 percent to 2019’s Just Eat charity of choice, the Peter McVerry Trust. So you’re doing something good."

Does she notice the homelessness which is also prevalent in Los Angeles too, while she's spending her down-time there?

“Again, who am I to talk about anything, but there are definite areas. Santa Monica area and Downtown area, what I find is that a lot of the problems there are mental health. These people should be in facilities, in LA for me I notice, it’s a lot more of that. Whereas here, it’s more people who are getting a bad run of things. It just seems to be different circumstances, I suppose," she emphasises.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Her daughter Sage was born in 2015, with her husband Torray Scales. We're immediately jealous of Sage, because she's already heard some of her mum's new material;

‘Nightmare before Christmas is her thing. We listen to that soundtrack, and I love it as well, so it’s great. Sometimes she said, ‘I wanna hear mummy’s songs’, she approves of the new songs, thankfully. She’s very sweet, but other times she’s like, ‘Ok, back to Disney’, she laughs.

“She says she lives in LA and lives in Dublin, she loves being home. She gets totally spoilt rotten at home. The back and forth is her norm, she doesn’t know any different.”

We couldn't let Samantha go without trying to get the dates for her new music to be released, it had to be done. For the good of mankind. Luckily, she was ready for the question;

“I was hoping to have a date already. I have to have it within the next two weeks, because I want my first release to be latest end of March, early April. So we’re working on it. I’d love to have two singles out by the summer, and the album definitely will be later on in the year, but I’m on it.”

One core difference between now and when Samantha started is, of course, the power of social media. She's aware of it as a tool, and this time it's going to connect her even more to her fans;

“That’s what I’m enjoying the most, there’s no random people telling me what I have to do, I’m fully in control of everything. That’s kind of the most exciting part for me. The people I’ve been working with in the States are so creative, they’re really pushing me out of my comfort zone.”

In terms of teasing some collaborations in the pipeline, she's revealed a song with MNEK has been created, and we are SO HERE for it. The artist is known for working with some of pop's biggest names, among them are Dua Lipa and Zara Larsson.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“MNEK I have done work with, yes, I adore him. He’s incredible, he’s so talented. I have done one song with him, and I have my core group of people to work with. I think he’ll actually be in LA again in another couple of weeks, so we’ll do another session there as well. I’d love to bring him in with my people, because I think they’d all mesh really well. I’m excited for what that will bring. He’s such a talent and a joy to work with.”

Is there anyone she's especially got her eye on, in terms of new female talent?

“I just discovered her and I’m obsessed, it’s Donna Missal from the US. She’s incredible, I love her."

Samantha is 36-years-old, and time has only given her even more glamour, wisdom and thick-skin for the tough music industry.

Her new album is set to encompass that sense of maturity;

My new music is pop R’N’B, it’s current to where I am, I’m a grown woman who’s lived a life. I have a lot of things to say. I’m just expressing them, and hopefully other women will relate to it."

Samantha is the newest 2019 mood; let her reign begin anew.

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Claire Foy has gained international recognition for her powerful portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web and now as Janet Armstrong in First Man.

As part of her acceptance speech for the #SeeHer recognition gong at the Critics' Choice Awards, she delivered a moving statement about the complexities of female roles.

She became the third actor to receive the accolade, which was launched by the Association of National Advertisers in 2016.

She followed in Viola Davis' and Gal Gadot's footsteps, winning the award which aims to increase the number of accurate depictions of women across the media.

Foy made sure to speak about how numerous people refer to her role in the 2018 Neil Armstrong biopic First Man as "just the wife", which she strongly opposes.

“I’ve had the opportunity to play some extraordinary women, for all sorts of reasons, and none more so than Janet Armstrong,” Foy said.

"She lived her life with such bravery and resilience and determination and love," she added.

“I can’t tell you how many times during the making of the movie and in the press tour that people said to me, ‘Well that part is normally the part of just the wife’." 

“And there’s no such thing as ‘just the wife’.” This statement got rapturous applause from the star-studded audience, clearly emphatically agreeing with the British actress.

Foy illustrated that it’s an actor’s responsibility to question who they portray, how they portray them and “how we want people to see themselves on screen” to create change.

Viola Davis presented Foy with the award, and Foy explained how she’d previously watched Davis’ acceptance speech for the 2016 #SeeHer award in preparation for her own.

She was eternally inspired by the outstanding Widows actor’s words that “the greatest privilege in your life is to be who you are.” WE STAN.

The actress concluded by saying she hopes the #SeeHer award will give her “encouragement” to be “brave enough to face and see myself”, and that she hopes it will also help others to do the same.

*Passes the tissues around the office*

im not gonna cry emmy awards GIF by Emmys

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