Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on people to remember that International Women’s Day is not only a celebration of women and the contribution they make to society, but a protest at the inequality that women face every day.
“It is a measure of how far we have come that International Women´s Day is now celebrated by women, and indeed men, everywhere,” she said.
“It has become a global day of recognition for women’s contributions to society, celebrating the economic, political, social and cultural achievements of women.
“It is only right and fitting that as we mark the 100th anniversary of women’s voting rights that we recognise how far we have come.
“But just because we have come far does not mean we do not have far to go and so it is worth remembering that as well as being a celebration of women, International Women’s Day is also a protest against the continuing inequality women face around the world today.
“Women still do not enjoy Equal Pay and continue to face barriers when accessing work due to a lack of childcare provision. Evidence has shown they have also been unfairly impacted upon more as a result of current budget and welfare cuts
“Women continue to be disproportionately physically and emotional effected by domestic and sexual violence which can have a lasting effect on their health and emotional wellbeing.
“We are still waiting for the Istanbul convention to be ratified. How many more women must be abused before the Government will follow the example of 28 other countries and ratify our rights?
“In the 1918 General election, the first one here in which women were able to vote, Constance Markievicz became the first woman in the world to hold a cabinet position when she was elected to the First Dáil.
“Now, 100 years on, we, the men and women of Ireland, face an equally historic vote. This year, we will be voting in an historic referendum centred around the rights of women.
“The 8th amendment is one of the most egregious acts of discrimination women continue to face and it has no place in the Irish Constitution.
“This International Women’s Day take part in the fight for safety and respect for women.”