The cause Colette and Emma are just two of the co-ordinators behind the Irish Feminist Network (IFN).
How it all started Set up in 2010, the IFN was founded by a group of Masters students from the Centre for Gender and Women’s studies at Trinity. “While there were women’s organisations, there weren’t ones targeting youngert women,” says Colette, who joined in 2012. “There’s been a surge in grassroots feminism of late. People are realizing they can make a difference.” Emma has been inspoired by the support she’s seen since joining in 2011: “Meeting like-minded people and sharing experiences – the solidarity has been amazing.”
What they’ve done They lobby and raise awareness on issues that not only affect women, but other marginalized groups as well, issues such as reproductive rights, economic equality, political representation, prostitution and trafficking are at the forefront, and they’ve supported campaigns like the X case legislation and Turn Off the Red Light. They just wrapped up an activists training programme for women.
What’s next They’re focusing on the equality budgeting campaign to get an extra step added to the budgetary process, whereby an equality audit is done when the government propose changes, which would illustrate how decisions impact specifically on various groups. “It’s inspiring to see how much you can engage with the government and TDs and they do listen,” says Colette.
The complete interview and more on Women Activists can be found in IMAGE magazine on newsstands now.
Meg Walker @MegWalkerDublin