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womens equality day

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Today is Womens' Equality Day, which is as good a time as any to reflect on female life in this country.

There have certainly been some shifts for the better since the Eighties. Thirty years ago, in 1984, it was still necessary to present a prescription to purchase condoms. Divorce did not officially exist in the Irish constitution – that development was still 12 years away. As for women in government, just one female minister was serving in the Dáil at that time.

So yes, there are some obvious differences nowadays, but what has really changed? There are more women in positions of power in the workplace than before, but the gender pay gap is still significant, with EU Commission figures showing that Irish women are paid almost 14% less than men. As for the Irish Cabinet, there are still just four female ministers serving in the Dáil, as opposed to 11 male ministers.

Sarah Clarkin of the National Womens’ Council of Ireland, agrees there has been “some development,” for women’s equality, but there is still a lot to do. “Women do not get promoted in the workplace as often as men, and there is definitely a pattern of more women in part-time roles than men,” she said.

As for women in the home, recent CSO statistics showed that 98.2% of those looking after home or family full-time were women. That figure shows a staggering disproportion in the roles of women and men in Irish society, with women still regarded as the main caregivers.

Another huge issue for women in Ireland – one that has not really moved on in any way since the early Nineties when the X case took place – is the right to an abortion. Abortion rights in this country have recently come to the forefront again, with huge controversy surrounding the news that a young woman who became pregnant through rape was denied the right to an abortion under Irish law although she said she was suicidal. The woman then gave birth via C-section.

Thousands – both pro-life and pro-choice – took to the streets of Ireland last week, demanding that the Dáil make its views on abortion clearer. Speaking about the issue, Rachel Doyle of NWCI said “Once again, Ireland is hitting the headlines for its restrictive abortion laws and a vulnerable woman has been caused immeasurable suffering.” 

While Irish women in 2014 are certainly on the road to equality and better provision of rights, the fight is not over. We still need feminism in this country. If anything, we need it now more than ever.

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It was this day, August 26th, 94 years ago that the 19TH Amendment of the US Constitution gave women the right to vote, which is why today is officially Women’s Equality Day!

While women still don’t have it as good as men in some ways (the gender pay gap in Ireland is 13.9%), things have come a long way since the days of having to quit your job once you got married.

Some of our celebrity friends feel very strongly on the matter too, and for the day that’s in it, here are some of our favourite celeb quotes about feminism!

Ellen Page
“I call myself a feminist when people ask me if I am, and of course I am ‘cause it’s about equality, so I hope everyone is. You know you’re working in a patriarchal society when the word feminist has a weird connotation.”

Julianne Moore
“At one point, ‘feminist’ became a pejorative term. How did that happen? If you’re a feminist, you’re basically saying you’re a humanist.”

Beyoncé
“We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.”

Lena Dunham
“So many women have come to this idea of it being anti-male and not able to connect with the opposite sex – but what feminism is about is equality and human rights.”

Kate Nash
“Feminism is not a dirty word. It does not mean you hate men, it does not mean you hate girls that have nice legs and a tan, and it does not mean you are a ‘bitch’ or ‘dyke’; it means you believe in equality.”

Caitlin Moran
“Do you have a vagina? And do you want to be in charge of it? If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations – you’re a feminist!”

Zooey Deschanel
“I’m just being myself. There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f**king feminist and wear a f**king Peter Pan collar. So f**king what?”

John Legend
“All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights, the world will be a better place.”

 

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