International Womens Day 2016

This International Womens Day we'd like to add our voices to those celebrating women. Whether we're talking about our mothers, our sisters, our friends or our partners, men and women have always worked together and overcome life's challenges side by side.

Women of untameable spirit like the infamous Irish pirate queen Grace O'Malley who stormed many a castle in her day, or legendary Queen Medb who was honoured on the Irish one pound note, women who have advanced humanity's understanding of nature and the sciences like Marie Curie, women who are examples of charity and kindness in the face of incredible adversity, like Mother Teresa.

We celebrate those women like TD Joanna Tuffy who have stood up and been elected to public office through their own courage, conviction, and service to their communities.

And we especially celebrate those women who have selflessly given their support to their families and loved ones, working tirelessly day after day whether inside or outside of the home throughout history.

Back in 1945 the laundry workers, entirely women, went on strike to get two weeks paid holidays a year, something unheard of at the time.

In the face of stiff opposition they downed tools, eventually succeeding and opening the door for all Irish workers to enjoy the same benefits. The rousing song they sang on the picket lines echoes proudly to this day:

Outside the laundry we put up a fight
For a fortnight's holiday
They said we'd have to strike,
So we keep marching up and down,
As we nearly did for half a crown
We are a fighting people
Who cannot be kept down

Going back into history, Irish women have a wonderful tradition of strength and the ability to look after themselves and their families right alongside their husbands. In the 19th century women accounted for more than half of the non-agricultural Irish workforce, working mostly at spinning wool, cotton and linen. And even moreso those who gave themselves to the role of fulltime mother, a very difficult job at the best of times!

The Irish mammy's love and devotion to her sons and daughters is legendary, and rightly so, and it is also to these Irish mothers that we are forever grateful. Without their care and kindness where would we be?

So this International Womens Day, let's raise a toast to the women of Ireland and remember that we're all in it together, men and women, to make the world a better place for our children.

Women of Ireland, we salute you!

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International Womens Day 2016

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