Tag Archives: feminism

A resurgence in Feminism in Ireland.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/features/2010/1012/1224280865598.html

Younger sisters: say hello to the new feminists

Feminism is having an extraordinary resurgence, and it is young women who are at the forefront of the change. FIONOLA MEREDITH meets some of the bloggers and other activists at its heart

FEMINISM HAS BECOME a dirty word for many young women, an unfashionable agenda tainted by its populist caricature of man-hating, bra-burning and regulation hairiness. Feminism, it seemed, was to be treated with disdain, hostility or amusement, or simply ignored as a redundant historical project, while young women got on with their emancipated post-feminist lives – with, perhaps, a weekly visit to the pole-dancing class for good measure.

But the past few months have seen an extraordinary resurgence of feminist activism in Ireland and beyond, and it is young women who are at the forefront of this change. Blogs and Facebook groups are proliferating, and clubs, societies and grass-roots groups are springing up across the country. Hordes of angry, impassioned young women are locating their inner feminists. Many have come up sharply against unexpected discrimination, sexism and inequality. It has given them a painful jolt, and they want the world to know about it. In the words of one veteran activist, surprised and delighted by the sudden interest, “it’s bursting out all over here!”

Last month the Irish Feminist Network was launched in Dublin with the aim of destigmatising feminism and making it more relevant to a new generation. It was a success: 100 people attended, and its 22-year-old spokeswoman Madeline Hawke says the group, which will focus on the media and the political representation of women in Ireland, has big plans for the future. “We’re going to have a book club, a film club, a discussion group and ‘feminism in the pub’. We want to reclaim feminism, to challenge the preconception that feminists see sex as evil and men as bad. We want to give women the tools they need to go out into the world, to develop a strong sense of self.”

Cork Feminista is another new feminist group, set up a few weeks ago by Linda Kelly and Jennifer deWan. Having moved home to Cork, Kelly, a 24-year-old former Union of Students in Ireland equality officer, was keen to set up a casual, feminist-focused social space that was appealing to women of all ages and persuasions, including those with no interest in politics. “I was worried no one would show up, because we only advertised online,” says Kelly. “I said to Jen, if one person turns up apart from us, that will be a success. But 22 people were there on the first night, including six guys.”

In May, Belfast Feminist Network was launched, spearheaded by Kellie Turtle, a 30-year-old blogger. Turtle had already run a successful campaign against sexist billboards in the city, including one particularly gratuitous advert for a used-car magazine that showed a pair of scantily-clad breasts and the slogan “nice headlamps”.

So why are young women flocking to feminism? “A lot of it is to do with realising the illusion of the post-feminist age,” says Turtle. “Young women have been sold an idea of equality that they are not actually receiving.” Turtle’s feminist awakening came in part through her experience of living in a house with five women, three of whom had eating disorders.

Linda Kelly believes that young women often don’t see the barriers that hold them back, at least at first. “Maybe they don’t think that feminism is relevant, or maybe they buy into the stereotype that feminism is for old, fat, hairy women.”

Madeline Hawke says: “People suddenly realised that we had stopped moving forward. The momentum of the 60s and 70s has gone, and the realisation has dawned that things aren’t getting better – they’re getting worse for women in some cases – and these issues aren’t going to just fix themselves. For instance, women make up less than 14 per cent of the Dáil. That is just ridiculous in 2010.”

Hawke believes sexism can be much more subtle today. “Legislation prevents anything overt, but sexualisation and pornography have become normalised, which makes it harder to explain and articulate exactly what the issues are.”

The well-known feminist activist and educator Ailbhe Smyth, a convenor of the Feminist Open Forum, says we shouldn’t be too surprised by this new interest. “These young women are their mothers’ and grandmothers’ daughters. They have grown up with those histories and experiences of feminism in a way that I definitely didn’t.”

Several of the new activists believe the surge is part of a wider cultural phenomenon. Periods of financial crisis are historically worse for women, and Linda Kelly says this brutal recession has focused minds. “People become more politicised when they see things being taken away from them.”

Kellie Turtle says that “there is more of a place for social movements than there was 10 years ago: the antiglobalisation and environmental movements opened it up. It was the same in the 60s, when second-wave feminism was galvanised by the socialist antiapartheid movements”.

There’s no doubt that these young women are full of fresh blood and fresh anger, and they’re proud to call themselves feminists. “A year or two ago I would have been quite uncomfortable about calling myself a feminist,” says Kelly. “But you have to do it, or you just sell out. You have to name it, say what you mean, start a discussion.”

Her fellow activist Jennifer deWan has described herself as a feminist since she was 15. “I think it has a lot of power, and that scares people who benefit from the status quo. People wouldn’t be so afraid of it, or afraid to use it, if it didn’t.”

But the old question of just how radical or political it’s necessary to be hasn’t gone away. Very few people seem to be talking about dominance and oppression here. The Irish Feminist Network has said it wants to have a mainstream appeal to a broad range of young women, including those who don’t identify themselves as feminists, as well as to established older feminists. Madeline Hawke says that, for her, feminism is about “allowing women to be whoever they want to be”, and Linda Kelly of Cork Feminista speaks of converting apolitical women “slowly but surely”. She says it’s issues that matter, not labels.

But Kellie Turtle believes it’s important not to pussyfoot around – and she’s ready to use not only the F-word but also the P-word. “There’s lots of talk about not wanting to offend women, or about women being free to choose what they want to choose. I’m not comfortable with that. I think our choices prop up the patriarchy. I’m more and more coming around to the idea that feminism is quite simply about smashing the patriarchy. Look at the pro-prostitution lobby. We need to start being honest with ourselves: smashing the patriarchy is more important than defending someone’s right to sell sex.”

Ailbhe Smyth says the real challenge for the new feminists is how to get off Facebook and on to the streets. “It’s up to all of us to work together to sustain and support them, and to make the word revolution writ large.”

About bloody time tbh, been waiting for this to start happening having seen it kicking of over the last five years in the usa and uk.

“Ten things an Irish woman could not do in 1970”

Yesterday there was a booklet in the times about Irish women and how times and things have changed. As the saying goes eaten bread is soon forgotten and we have a generation of Irish women who have grown up benefiting from the hard work put in to make socail change and not knowing how things were before and all to happy to distance themselves from being considered a Feminist or Womens’ Libber (hell some of them wouldn’t know the term Womens’ Libber) and don’t think that socail change is possible or that they can effect it.

Yes men played a part in this too, supporting the changes and making them happen,
there are male feminists out there, and more feminists of both genders then most people in Ireland would suspect.

http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/sisters/changes-from-1970s.html

1 Keep her job in the public service or a bank when she got married

Female civil servants and other public servants (primary teachers, from 1958, were excluded from the so-called “marriage bar”) had to resign from their jobs when they got married, on the grounds that they were occupying a job that should go to a man. Banks operated a similar policy.

How it changed

The marriage bar in the public service was removed in July 1973, on foot of the report of the first Commission on the Status of Women. In 1977, the Employment Equality Act prohibited discrimination on the grounds of gender or marital status in almost all areas of employment.

2 Sit on a jury

Under the 1927 Juries Act, members of juries had to be property owners and, in effect, male.

How it changed

Mairín de Burca and Mary Anderson challenged the Act and won their case in the Supreme Court in 1976. The old Act was repealed and citizens over 18 who are on the electoral register are eligible for juries.

3 Buy contraceptives

The 1935 Criminal Law Amendment Act banned the import, sale and distribution of contraceptives. Some women were able to get doctors to prescribe the Pill as a “cycle regulator” or to fit devices such as the cap. In 1969, the Fertility Guidance Clinic was established in Dublin and used a loophole in the law to give away the Pill for free. (It was thus not being sold.) Most rural and working class women had no access to contraceptives.

How it changed

The Commission on the Status of Women in 1972 delicately suggested that “parents have the right to regulate the number and spacing of their family” but stopped short of an open demand for contraception. The Rotunda hospital, the Irish Family Planning Association and student unions began to distribute contraceptives. The law, however, changed very slowly. The McGee case of 1973 established a right to import contraceptives for personal use, but did not allow them to be sold. A Bill to allow for controlled access was defeated in 1974. In 1979, in an infamous “Irish solution to an Irish problem”, an Act was passed to allow doctors to prescribe contraceptives to married couples only. A 1985 Act allowed contraceptives to be sold to anyone over 18 but only in chemists. The IFPA and Virgin Megastore were prosecuted for selling condoms in 1991. Later that year, the sale of contraceptives was liberalised.

4 Drink a pint in a pub

In 1970, some pubs refused to allow women to enter at all, some allowed women only if accompanied by a man and very many refused to serve women pints of beer. Women who were accidentally served a pint would be instructed to pour it into two half-pint glasses.

How it changed

Women’s groups staged protests in the early 1970s. In one instance, Nell McCafferty led a group of 30 women who ordered, and were served, 30 brandies.They then ordered one pint of Guinness. When the pint was refused, they drank the brandies and refused to pay as their order was not served. In 2002, the Equal Status Act banned gender discrimination in the provision of goods and services. It defined discrimination as “less favourable treatment”. Service can be refused only if there is a reasonable risk of disorderly or criminal conduct.

5 Collect her children’s allowance

The 1944 legislation that introduced the payment of children’s allowances (now called child benefit) specified that they be paid to the father. The father could, if he chose, mandate his wife to collect the money, but she had no right to it.

How it changed

Responding to the report of the Commission on the Status of Women, the 1974 Social Welfare Act entitled mothers to collect the allowance.

6 Get a barring order against a violent partner

In 1970, a women who was hospitalised after a beating by her husband faced a choice of either returning home to her abuser or becoming homeless. Abusive spouses could not be ordered to stay away from the family home, leaving many women little choice but to seek refuge elsewhere.

How it changed

Women’s Aid campaigned for changes in the law, and in 1976 the Family Law Act, Ireland’s first legislation on domestic violence, enabled one spouse to seek a barring order against the other where the welfare or safety of a spouse or children was at risk. The orders were for three months and were poorly implemented. In 1981, protection orders were introduced and barring orders were increased up to 12 months.

7 Live securely in her family home

Under Irish law, a married woman had no right to a share in her family home, even if she was the breadwinner. Her husband could sell the home without her consent.

How it changed

Under the Family Home Protection Act of 1976, neither spouse can sell the family home without the written consent of the other.

8 Refuse to have sex with her husband

In 1970 the phrase “marital rape” was a contradiction in terms. A husband was assumed to have the right to have sex with his wife and consent was not, in the eyes of the law, an issue.

Women’s adultery was also specifically penalised in the civil law, the notorious tort of “criminal conversation” or “CrimCon”: a husband could legally sue another man for compensation for sleeping with his wife.

How it changed

The Council for the Status of Women urged the creation of a crime of marital rape. In 1979 the Minister for Justice Gerard Collins declined to introduce legislation to this effect. Even when new legislation on rape was introduced in 1981, the situation did not change. It was not until 1990 that marital rape was defined as a crime. The first trial, in 1992, collapsed within minutes. The first successful prosecution for marital rape was in 2002.

Crim Con was abolished by the Family Law Act (1981). The Act also, as a dubious quid pro quo, abolished the right to sue for “breach of promise” of marriage – an ancient provision that was occasionally used by jilted women, although it was in theory also available to men.

9 Choose her official place of domicile

Under Irish law, a married woman was deemed to have the same “domicile” as her husband. This meant that if her husband left her and moved to Australia, her legal domicile was deemed to be Australia. Women, who could not get a divorce in Ireland, could find themselves divorced in countries where their husbands were domiciled.

How it changed

Acting on a report from the Law Reform Commission, the Fine Gael junior minister for women’s affairs Nuala Fennell drove forward the Domicile and Recognition of Foreign Divorces Bill in 1985. It granted married women the right to an independent domicile.

10 Get the same rate for a job as a man

In 1970, almost all women were paid less than male colleagues doing the same job. In March 1970, the average hourly pay for women was five shillings, while that for men was over nine. In areas covered by a statutory minimum wage, the female rate was two-thirds that of men.

How it changed

Legislation on equal pay was introduced in 1974 and employment equality legislation followed in 1977, both as a result of European directives.

Did you know that today is international Women’s Day?

Did you know that today is International Women’s Day?

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Did you know that it’s a 100 years from the first one?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Women%27s_Day

In 1910 the first international women’s conference was held in Copenhagen (in the labour-movement building located at Jagtvej 69, which until recently housed Ungdomshuset) by the Second International and an ‘International Women’s Day’ was established, which was submitted by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin, although no date was specified.[1] The following year, 1911, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, on March 19.[2]

However, soon thereafter, on March 25, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed over 140 garment workers. A lack of safety measures was blamed for the high death toll. Furthermore, on the eve of World War I, women across Europe held peace rallies on 8 March 1913. In the West, International Women’s Day was commemorated during the 1910s and 1920s, but dwindled. It was revived by the rise of feminism in the 1960s.

Demonstrations marking International Women’s Day in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it an official holiday in the Soviet Union, and it was established, but was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women’s Day was declared as a non working day in the USSR “in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples, and the struggle for peace. But still, women’s day must be celebrated as are other holidays.”

How is Women’s Day Celebrated?

On this day it is customary for men to give the women in their lives – mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc – flowers and small gifts. In some countries (such as Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother’s Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union celebrations of IWD were abandoned in Armenia. Instead April 7 was introduced as state holiday of ‘Beauty and Motherhood.’ The new holiday immediately got popular among Armenians, as it commemorates one of the main holidays of Armenian Church, Annunciation. However, people still kept celebrating IWD on March 8 as well. Public discussion held on the topic of two ‘Women’s Days’ in Armenia resulted in the recognition of the so called ‘Women’s Month’ which is the period between March 8 and April 7.

In Italy, to celebrate the day, men give yellow mimosas to women.[19][20] Yellow mimosas and chocolate are also one of the most common March 8 presents in Russia and Albania.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Moldova, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Serbia the custom of giving women flowers still prevails. Women sometimes get gifts from their employers too. Schoolchildren often bring gifts for their teachers as well.

The 2005 Congress (conference) of the British Trades Union Congress overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for IWD to be designated a public holiday in the United Kingdom.

This year the theme is equality.
[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye8iGQ1d9Cg]

There are 47 events happening in Ireland to mark the day.
http://www.internationalwomensday.com/search.asp?country=102