Change isn’t just about big headline moments... the way we talk, think and act every day can create a ripple effect

Women from the world of politics, activism, business and education have their say to mark IWD
Change isn’t just about big headline moments... the way we talk, think and act every day can create a ripple effect

Adi Roche, Chernobyl Children's International.

ADI ROCHE

Chernobyl Children’s Project International

“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role throughout history.

The roots of International Women’s Day lie in the frustration and injustice suffered by women. The courage of the women who went on strike in Russia in 1917, who downed tools and took their bravery to the streets, allows us to mark this special day, which has global status and UN recognition.

Every victory that we have as women brings something else on, and the torch is handed from one woman to another. It’s that torch bearing that has helped women to carry this movement on into the future.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2022 is ‘Break the Bias’. A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

Here at Chernobyl Children International, we are proud to work with some truly inspirational female leaders within our organisation who work tirelessly to create change.

We would like to thank these women for their guidance, their courage, and their bravery to guarantee that results are achieved.

Change isn’t just about big headline moments, legal victories and international agreements: the way we talk, think, and act every day can create a ripple effect that benefits everyone.

All great change is brought about by a series of small steps, so let’s make this year count for women and girls all over the world, and together we can all #BreakTheBias!”

Cllr Mary Rose Desmond
Cllr Mary Rose Desmond

CLLR MARY ROSE

DESMOND

Deputy Lord Mayor & Chair of Cork City

Council’s Women’s Caucus

“Marking International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to increase awareness of the issues faced by women, and in particular, with this year’s theme, to learn more about how we can Break the Bias.

To be able to break the bias, we need to acknowledge as a society that bias exists and dismantle the outdated stereotypes and discrimination that drives that thinking.

As a woman in politics, where woman are very much in the minority, removing these biases and barriers is key to seeing more woman elected to both local and national government. Cork City Council’s Women’s Caucus has been working over the last 12 months, since its formation, to enhance female participation in local government by exploring barriers and challenges to participation.

Issues around maternity leave and conditions, stereotyping roles, and inflexible working arrangements are just some of the challenges faced when in the system. That is aside from the challenges around female selection and indeed election.

We work in a very male dominated world, for the most part aimed at and designed for men, and the political world is no different. We do have male colleagues that are advocates for women and for change. I believe it is important men realise the importance of the role they can play as allies to the cause of gender equality. They can help transform power dynamics by advocating for women in leadership positions, challenging their own beliefs and values, and challenging toxic masculinity. We must see more women in politics to reflect the communities and world that we live and work in.

What is certain is that change is not inevitable. Challenging each other and systematically removing opportunities for bias in our systems, our processes and our communities, is the only way we can Break the Bias and start to create a more equal and diverse environment.”

Elaine Buckley, Peter McVery Trust.
Elaine Buckley, Peter McVery Trust.

ELAINE BUCKLEY

Regional Fundraising Manager for the Peter McVerry Trust

“As the eldest of three girls, my sisters and I were very lucky to grow up in a house where we were always encouraged and pushed. My Dad especially maintained we could be whoever and whatever we wanted to be. He maintains it to this day along with my wonderful husband, my greatest supporter, even through my many crazy and hare-brained choices over the years!

I attended a co-ed community school where girls were told to work in an office and boys were told to take a trade and the very notion of a woman aspiring to be a carpenter or engineer was an alien concept. And this was only a little over 20 years ago!

Through school, college and my various jobs on my long and winding career path, I have met some of the most amazing and inspirational women and I am proud to surround myself with a circle of fabulous family, friends and colleagues, all strong, independent women who have helped shape the person I am today.

As the newly-appointed Regional Fundraising Manager for the Peter McVerry Trust, I am honoured to take on a role in which I can help make a difference to those impacted by homelessness. I strongly believe in the power of kindness and a little kindness goes a long way, especially in these trying times.

My message on this International Women’s Day is to nuture the little girls and women in your life and help them to follow their dreams and reach for the stars, there is nothing they cannot do! #BreaktheBias”

Prof. Margaret Linehan, Chair MTU International Women's Day Steering Group
Prof. Margaret Linehan, Chair MTU International Women's Day Steering Group

PROFESSOR MARGARETTE LINEHAN

Chair, MTU International Women’s Day Steering Group

“This International Women’s Day, I choose to Break the Bias of human trafficking in Ireland. The Global Slavery Index (2018) estimated there are 8,000 trafficked victims in Ireland — mainly women. Between 2015 and 2019, however, an Garda Síochána identified only 293 such victims. Human trafficking can happen in any neighbourhood. Suspicions are sometimes raised where large numbers of people live in the same apartment, especially when they are escorted whenever they leave.

While human trafficking continues primarily for the purpose of sexual exploitation, other motives include forced marriage, labour exploitation, child trafficking, forced criminal activity, and organ removal.

A key difficulty for victims is that they are usually hidden from public view, often in isolated areas, thus hampering victims from opportunities of escape or help.

Human trafficking is a form of slavery, a violation of human rights, and a crime. Raising awareness and being vigilant is incumbent on all of us and each of us should be more vigilant and more open to the possibility that someone in our own neighbourhoods may need help.”

Annabel Lolah of Bezateli Active Wear
Annabel Lolah of Bezateli Active Wear

ANNABEL LOLAH

Bezateli

“This international women’s day, I choose to #BreakThebias, I break the chain of violence against women, say no to gender discrimination, no to violence and inequality of any form, I crush stereotypes.

I choose to break the barrier and say female children deserve to be educated, treated right and respected. I say no to gender violence and female genital mutilation.

It all starts with us parents. We have the obligation to raise our children while teaching them to respect one another, regardless of race, gender, colour or age.

Society and social media are putting a lot of pressure on young people, especially women, and reminding women of their worth is something we should always do. It is not an easy task to wear so many hats (mother, wife, business owner, teacher, doctor, cleaner, etc).

I manage a Bezateli community constantly reminding the ladies that they are valuable and worthy, that they can be whatever they set their mind to become and can achieve everything if only they believe.

My desire is to build a community of women with value, because educating a woman is educating a nation.”

Crystal Nolan.
Crystal Nolan.

CRYSTAL NOLAN

Lives in Millstreet, Co. Cork

Woman are shape shifters and peace keepers

Among groups in society of toxic and polluted word spitters

We as woman are powerful whether it be young, old or transsexual

We are all beautiful in our own way, we are

Woman of a kind

Can’t you see the glory and pride

We should be respected among all

We are still flesh and bone

Hear our voices as we say out loud

Stop the violence

There’s no need for that now

Without their love and care in this world where would we be

We are always ready, for good or bad

No matter how much pain we have

We will always lend a helping hand

All we ask in return Is love and kindness

Is that too much to give

We are stronger than you think

Do not misunderstand

Our soft voices are not a weakness

Let’s join hands and #BreakTheBias

GENI D’ARCY

Global Head of HR at Wisetek and Board Director at Cope Foundation

Over my 23 year career in HR to-date, I have sat on many Senior Leadership Teams and in most cases as a female I have been in the minority if not the only female. I have worked with many great companies and with a lot of truly talented female colleagues; however, getting our voices heard has been challenging and frustrating at times.

This imbalance is shifting, but in some environments, not enough or quickly enough. 

Every employer, employee and person has the opportunity to break down inequality and social divides, and to not only promote but to live what inclusion really means.

The conversation and education are necessary but let’s get doing, lead by example, and show that breaking the bias is better for all.

Sylvia Wohlfarth.
Sylvia Wohlfarth.

SYLVIA WOHLFARTH

English Language Trainer, Cork

“Are you from here?” she asked. “Well, sort of,” I answered. She asked me for directions, and thanking me left me standing there screaming in my head, “Sort of?” Why had I hesitated and answered “Sort of”? Why hadn‘t I seen myself as she had seen me, someone she could ask for directions, and simply said: “Yes, I am”? My colour had been irrelevant to her. Was this not the world we are striving for?

Growing up ‘coloured’ in an Irish society and 40 years abroad had made me aware of being different. I had seen myself as I believed people saw me and had unconsciously questioned my own ‘self’.

Colour and gender are parts of our identity and characteristics palette, like wearing glasses, hair colour, freckles, disabilities, etc: Differences we should embrace with dignity and confidence. Tearing down the walls of inequality and intolerance is two-sided. Bridging equality and inclusion takes an eye-to-eye approach as we strive together to build a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

It is a conversation we must begin in early childhood, the potential breeding ground for intolerance and discrimination, and instead, seed confidence and a positive gender experience where difference is valued and celebrated.”

Ingrid Seim, Avenues Consultancy and Coaching.
Ingrid Seim, Avenues Consultancy and Coaching.

INGRID SEIM

Avenues Consultancy & Coaching

“#BreakTheBias will mean different things to different people. There are many biases. On this International Women’s Day, I think of everyone being able to authentically be who they are, to step forward into the roles they want to embody, and not have their authentic selves or lived realities be an obstacle to happiness, to fulfilment, to progression, to living the life they want to live. We all have biases, it’s an integral part of how we function as human beings. But they limit our view of what could be possible, what something should look like, what something should feel like. And the best way of breaking them is be exposed to alternative versions of those limited realities.

Let’s all do what we can to put these alternatives forward, to celebrate them, to honour them, and to acknowledge how much better the world becomes to live in when we do that.”

MICHELLE DEL TIN

Cork International Choral Festival

“As an amateur singer and professional in the field of choral events, I wish we could enjoy the work of more female choral conductors, composers and more generally female professional musicians. 

Although women have reached equality in a number of areas of the music world, music remains a field of the creative industries and artistic performance with an overall small percentage of women (they estimate that women make up only approximately 10% of composers of contemporary music and a quarter of musicians, while two thirds of dancers are women). 

There is still a long way to go in choral conducting, for example, where we need more female directors of professional choirs and women in leadership roles. The situation is improving thanks to the work and efforts of some exceptional female conductors in Ireland and internationally, but it’s not enough - let’s collectively challenge the gender order!”

Andrea Graham Workvivo
Andrea Graham Workvivo

ANDREA GRAHAM

Workvivo

“This year I’m crossing my arms to show my solidarity to #BreakTheBias. For me, it’s important to recognise my own biases at home, with friends and in the workplace, and help others recognise theirs too! We are all responsible and can break down biases to ensure an even playing field for everyone in the community or at school, college, and the workplace. Celebrating and valuing difference is key.

I’m privileged to have great female role models in my life, and I’m committed to playing my part in ensuring women feel like there is limit to what we can achieve. Together, I believe we can achieve women’s equality!”

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