Celebrating Irish Women

This week we celebrated International Women’s day honouring the social, economic cultural and political achievements of women.

 

Over the years, there have been so many women who have pushed for change and have effectively shaped the world we live in today. With that in mind, let’s take a look at just some of the most influential and inspiring Irish women.

 

Rosie Hackett was responsible for starting a revolution in a Dublin based biscuit factory. After enduring terrible working conditions, Rosie became the founding member of the Irish Women's Workers Union (IWWU) at the age of 18. 

 

She helped more than 3,000 of her female co-workers to go on strike. All of the workers received better working conditions and even a pay rise as a result. The IWWU set up a soup kitchen for strikers while Rosie worked to provide food and moral support.

 

During the 1916 rising, she joined the Irish Citizen Army and ended up losing her job. In 1970, she was awarded a medal for giving 60 years of her life to the Irish trade union movement.

 

Veronica Guerin is best known for her hard-hitting investigative journalism and exposes on Dublin’s drug culture while she worked with The Sunday Independent. Despite death threats, Veronica refused to be silenced.  

 

According to the Irish Independent, she said: “I vow that the eyes of justice, the eyes of this journalist will not be shut again. No hand can deter me from my battle for the truth.”

 

Sadly, in 1996 she was shot dead in her car at the age of 37. This was a death that shook the nation and started the largest criminal investigation in Ireland. To this day, Veronica still inspires women and journalists alike and is in the top 50 press freedom heroes, according to the International Press Institute.

 

Mary Robinson was Ireland’s first ever female president, declaring “I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.”

 

Mary was the seventh president in Ireland overall and was a huge advocate for gender equality. She worked as a champion of women’s equality in Ireland and global rights as an academic, legislator, barrister and a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

 

Today, she is the Chair of Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work towards peace, justice and human rights.

 

Sinead Burke is the author of ‘Breaking the Mould’ which teaches children about the power of being different and discovering the things you love about yourself. 

As an activist, academic, broadcaster, educator and contributing editor to Vogue, Sinead first became known in her 2017 TED Talk. The talk ‘Why Design Should Include Everyone” demanded more diversity in the fashion industry.

 

Following her work, she was appointed to Ireland’s Council of State, rightfully given a place on Vogue’s 2018 list of the 25 most powerful women and made the cover in 2019. She was later given an invitation to the Met Gala where she received a custom-made designer wardrobe for 3ft5 frame; including Gucci, Prada and Burberry. 

 

Katie Taylor is an Irish professional boxer and the current lightweight champion, since 2017. Katie has won five consecutive gold medals at the Women’s World Championships, six times at the European Champions and a further five times at the European Union Championships. 

 

She is praised for raising the profile of women’s boxing both in Ireland and abroad. After turning into a professional boxer in 2016, Katie is known for her fast-paced, aggressive boxing style and is considered to be the most outstanding Irish athlete of her generation.

 

There are hundreds of women in Ireland and worldwide who have created change in our society and set out to inspire. You don’t need to be doing great things to be inspirational, simply do what you can to educate others and advocate for women and LGBTQ+ rights and you too will be great.