By Elizabeth Doherty
As we stop to think about International Women’s Day, we need to celebrate what it is to be an Irish woman today.
Irish women are more educated, cultured and successful than they have every been.
We are from all different social backgrounds, ethnicities and religions.
Today, as a nation of women, we should celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
But of course, we ought also stop to take note of the gender gap that still exists between pay and opportunities in this country.
And the fact we still do not own the right to dictate what happens to our own bodies if we find ourselves with an unwanted pregnancy, or even if we are victims of rape or domestic violence.
Some of us suffer mental abuse, which can grind us down, eating away at our esteem.
While we have to also acknowledge the slow progress in many places across the world to develop women’s causes.
We have to remember we are sisters, no matter what background, culture or job we might have.
And to men in women’s lives, respect her and treat a woman as your equal, because believe me, she is.
In 2015, it estimated a slowdown in progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.
Right now, today in Ireland women are working mothers, career women, mothers holding down a job and looking after a child on their own, and women who are leading companies forward.
There are also strong, female politicians, striving to bring about important change.
Actress Emma Watson has become a leading female voice in the journey towards gender equality with her #heforshe campaign for gender equality.
The movement engages men and boys to act as agent for change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights.
As Irish women we must also be aware of the unemployed women, the uneducated women, the single mothers who are struggling financially – even though a large number work.
And we must try to always raise awareness of the homeless women – part of a deepening crisis, and the women who have been forced to flee our country for abortions. #Repealthe8th is another movement we should be striving to achieve.
We all have a voice. Today we should smile at each other as we walk in the street, stand at the counter in the shop, or pass each other by the kettle in the kitchen at the office.
We should smile at the little girl, who might look over at us on the bus. Who knows, she might need someone to smile at her.
And we should try to support each other more than perhaps we are. After all, we are all sisters.
Support International Women’s Day and tweet your story with the hashtag #pledgeforparity.
Get in touch with Ireland Today and tell us your stories of being a woman in Ireland right now.
What makes you feel grateful to be an Irish woman or a woman who has moved here.
And what do you feel needs to change in your life?
Let’s try to make that change happen today.
Love E x