Happy International Women's Day

Today is International Women’s Day;  a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements –  while calling for gender equality. It's been observed since the early 1900s and is recognised each year on March 8. It's unfortunate that in 2016, it's still necessary to mark the occasion and raise awareness around women's rights. So we'd like to give a nod, a hat-tip and fan girl on some of our favourite  Mná na hÉireann. Campaigners, leaders, carers, entertainers and talented individuals who make us proud, for very different reasons!   Countess Markievicz  Born into a position of privilege, Constance Gore-Booth put it all on the line in the name of revolution and Ireland. At the age of thirty, she met a Polish count and married him, hence the exotic surname. She set up and managed a soup kitchen which supported the families of workers during  'the Dublin Lockout' . She not only fought but was one of the leaders of the the 1916 Rising - for which she was sentenced to death. However, in 1917, she and all the remaining 1916 prisoners were released. In 1918, she was elected to the House of Commons. She was the first woman to be elected to parliament. As a nationalist, she refused to take her seat but was appointed Minister for Labour in 'Dail Eireann '.  She died in 1927 at the age of 57.  On the day she was buried, Dublin came to a standstill when the working class, the political class, and everyone in between poured into the streets to pay their respects.

Mary Robinson  Mary Robinson became Ireland's first female president back in 1990, paving the way for McAleese, but before the presidency Mary Robinson was a Senator,  a Trinity lecturer and lawyer who campaigned for women’s rights (including the right to birth control), gay rights, and the rights of the poor. After the presidency she became UN High Commissioner on Human rights and is currently championing The Mary Robinson Foundation – A centre for education and advocacy. She has fought tirelessly for human rights, the vulnerable and the voiceless and will continue to be one of the finest human beings this small country has ever produced.   Joanne O'Riordan Disability rights campaigner Joanne O’Riordan rose to prominence when she took the morning off school during her Junior Certificate mock examinations and met the future Taoiseach Enda Kenny as he campaigned ahead of the 2011 general election. Their meeting was filmed for television, with Kenny vowing he would not reduce disability funding if elected. Upon election he cut disability funding and O'Riordan wrote a letter expressing her disappointment.  An invitation to appear on The Late Late Show followed and the government later changed its mind. Since then Joanne has spoken before the United Nations in New York City, giving an address on the use of technology.  Her brother Steven  filmed the event  for " No Limbs No Limits".   Joanne  will now lead Dublin’s St Patrick’s Festival parade on March 17th, making her, at the age of 19,  the youngest ever grand marshal and we expect more great things from this lady.   It's probably true that we hold those women who fight for injustices and try to make the world a better place in the highest regard but today is also a day to celebrate  those who make life that little bit more enjoyable, make us laugh, smile, sing and dance.   Sharon Horgan who was born in England (but we're totally claiming her due to being brought up in Ireland to an Irish mother and Kiwi father)  is in our eyes a comedic genius, forever pushing boundaries and who's searing honesty has made shows like "Catastrophe" and "Pulling" hilarious must see TV....for similar reasons the performances and music of Roisin Murphy is something we always get giddy with excitement for-  over the last 20 years we've learned to expect the unexpected ( Italian Opera to bangin' techno) her unique talent keeps us hanging on every pitch perfect word and swaying on the dancefloor, long after the lights go up. There are too many inspirational women we'd like to add to this list but it's the women in our own lives, in our own world, who make a difference in so many ways- through their love and support who we feel should be celebrated most today.  You go Girls! Happy International Women's Day to you all.