Momentum hasn’t been lost.
My name is Joe Loughnane and I’m running for People Before Profit in Galway City Central in the local elections. As a community activist rooted in progressive grassroots organisations, I can say with confidence that women outnumber men with regards to both membership and active participation. The Repeal referendum wasn’t won by politicians or political parties, it was won by women of all ages campaigning in their communities. On this International Women’s Day, I’d like to acknowledge those people. Whether it’s women living in the Eglinton in Salthill taking the reigns at anti-racism meetings or Margaretta D’Arcy reinvigorating the anti-war movement in her 80s – these women guide our movement and provide a political analysis that is too often shouted down.
I see my role in political life as rallying lads to support women in their struggles. The global MeToo movement has highlighted the enormous impact of sexual harassment on women’s lives. Bullying and sexual harassment is rife throughout Irish workplaces. Women are still paid, on average, 14% less than men. There is uncertainty as to what happens to the women and children who are turned away from domestic violence services due to lack of space, worsened by the homelessness crisis. These are all situations and struggles that require men to examine the ‘fake hardman’ persona we all adopt. It is clearly rich and powerful men that ultimately benefit from patriarchy and sexism but the rest of us must challenge the casualisation of sexist language and sexual harassment that is commonplace in our friend circles. Like when we won’t open up about what’s getting on in our heads; there’s nothing masculine or tough about objectifying women. I’m still making mistakes, this isn’t a competition to be the best feminist ally. It should be about a collective desire to rearrange society so that 50% of our population are no longer treated as second class citizens.