Is it just us or is International Women’s Day a bit of a bigger deal this year? Given the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns we wouldn’t be surprised if this is indeed the case, but whether it’s a figment of our imaginations or not we are all for a bigger emphasis on a day that calls on everyone to forge a more inclusive, gender-equal world.
The general love-in on across social media in the build up to the big day has been giving us all the cosy feels, and we’re even more encouraged to see trailblazers mark the day with local events and initiatives, from free coffees for all women at The Fat Fox cafe on Camden Street to the ‘Votes for Repeal’ march.
On a more global level, International Women’s Day, according to its website, aims to celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women.
Though it can’t be ignored that progress has slowed in many places across the world, so connected global action is needed more than ever to accelerate gender parity — making this year’s day of recognition even more important.
At the same time, while the rallying cry of women who are ready to support one another might reach a peak on March 8th we hope that each year as we move towards a more level playing field the swell of connection, support and community will stabilise in the long term.
Remember, in the face of adversity, many women have gone before you, and there are many women are out there now to support you. We can all be #BeBoldForChange together.
We hope to play a very small part nurturing this movement with our weekly #WomenWeLove interviews, where we share the stories of women in Ireland, and Irish women abroad, who are examples of just some of incredible things women can achieve and demonstrate just how integral women are to every aspect of society.
Each of them inspires us, but who in turn inspires them?
We’ve asked 10 of these women to share the women who they admire. Read on for the Irish women who inspire hope and courage, and remember, in the face of adversity, many women have gone before you, and there are many women are out there now to support you. We can all be #BeBoldForChange together.
Writer, Playwright, Actress and Can’t Cope Won’t Cope Creator & Star
“I’m inspired by the way Marian Keyes navigates her personal and professional life. She is so generous of her time and attention on Twitter that you could easily assume that she just sits on the social media site all day but then BAM she’s on a press circuit with another book out.
I like her ‘make less announcements’, ‘head down’ approach to her work and how she balances that with her social stuff. I would aspire to be as prolific, kind and playful as she is.
Sometimes when I feel in a panic, or a rut, I think of how I imagine she would cope, ‘What Would Marian Keyes Do?’ sort of thing. Then I usually have a big cry, brush myself off and get back to work.”
TV Presenter & Founder of BodyByByram
“So many women are inspiring! One of my friends just got nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Outlander – Caitriona Balfe.
I remember the days we were both in LA and she was slogging away at acting lessons. She stuck with it and now she’s so good. I couldn’t be more proud!”
Founder and Co-CEO of GirlCrew
“Jayne Ronayne – the co-founder and CEO of corporate alumni platform KonnectAgain. She is a bit further down the start-up road than we are, and has been a huge help. She was able to advise us on everything from term sheets to boards, fundraising to hiring.
Ciara Clancy – the founder and CEO of Beats Medical. She was the one who introduced me to Blackbox Connect, which is basically a Silicon Valley immersion programme. She is doing great things for people with Parkinson’s.”
Co-Founder of Tropical Popical and The HunReal Issues
“I’m so absorbed in the Oireachteas Committee for Repeal at the moment that the women that are coming through on that like total badasses is making my heart swell with joy.
Seeing so many women on the committee representing the women of Ireland so well on women’s issues just shows how important gender quotas are until we get to a point where election is actually based on merit and not just an old boys club.
I’ve been fangirling to the max recently over TD’s Ruth Coppinger, Kate O’Connell, Clare Daly, Louise O’Reilly, Catherine Murphy, Senators Lynn Ruane, Ivana Bacik and Catherine Noone for managing to stay calm, and Convenor of the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Ailbhe Smyth.
Then there’s broadcasters Sarah McInerney and Louise McSharry, Blinder Film’s Katie Holly, Repeal Project’s Anna Cosgrave, Thinkhouse’s Jane McDaid, and artist Leah Hewson.
I’m also in awe of fash designers Simone Rocha, Joanne Hynes and Natalie B Coleman, comedian Joanne McNally, ultimate slashy Vogue Williams, and another slashy, Emma Fraser of NotAnotherAgency, NineCrows, and NotAtHome. I’ve so many, and I’ve 100% left out loads!”
CEO & Founder of Valerie Roe PR
“I’m really inspired by all of the Irish women using their voice across a number of really important issues, including the Repeal the 8th campaign.
For one name in particular, I’m in awe of author Emma Hannigan’s bravery surrounding her cancer battle. She has raised so much awareness and was an incredible woman.”
Bridal Designer at Kathy de Stafford Bridal
“Marian Keyes, I love her sense of humour and Christina Noble for the incredible work she has done for children.”
Managing Director of Pink Beauty Group
“My mother springs to mind, she is my first role model and inspiration, her philosophical way of being, how she copes with life and at her age how resilient and supportive she remains towards me.
Then I also look at Irish businesswomen, like Margaret Heffernan, of Dunnes Stores, and Penneys’ Breege O’Donoghue, and what they achieved when entering the market in a different and more challenging time for women.
As soon as you learn anyone’s story of how they got there and how they continue to grow, you’ve got to be inspired.”
Deputy MD & Head of Digital at Insight Consultants
“How long have you got?! Niamh O’Donoghue, creative extraordinaire for her strength.
Niamh Briggs, Sophie Spence (Irish Women’s Rugby) and Stephanie Roche (Irish Women’s Football) for what they’re doing for irish Sport right now.
Oonagh O’Hagan (Meagher’s Pharmacy), Jules Mahon (I’m not brown-nosing I swear!) and Norah Casey (Image Publications) for changing the stereotype of business women – we can be kind, caring, as well as cut-throat, successful business women who get shit done, all the while building each other up, and wearing high heels and lipstick.
Ruth Negga for the platform she is building for Irish acresses on a global stage.
Alison Spittle, comedian, for being brilliantly funny in an often too serious a world.
Amy Huberman – well because she’s Amy bloody Huberman – wife, mother, actress, author, fashion designer, part-time social media comedian, and an all-round legend who proves that women can juggle a million things and still crack a joke when all the eggs are up in the air.
My mum, Orlagh McCrory, it might seem cliché but she not only managed to raise four children, be a brilliant wife, run her own two businesses whilst getting degree after degree, but she also pushed us to be the best versions of ourselves and taught us that we were the only ones who could stand in our way.”
CEO & Co-Founder of Waxperts
“Louise Phelan from PayPal has been an amazing mentor for me. Oonagh O’Hagan from Meaghers Pharmacy, Ruth Monahan from Appassionata and Pippa O’Connor-Ormond are all good pals of mine, super businesswoman and all doing very different things and all mothers too!”
‘The Tweeting Goddess’, founder pf @WomensInspireIE, and Ted X speaker
“There are so many. Mary McKenna of Tour America is a great support, as is Oonagh O’Hagan. I’ve worked with both and we still have a great relationship, they have become my friends. Also Gwenn Clayton of Biz Results Academy, who gives me a different perspective and helps me to focus.”