‘What should be a day of celebration across the globe to mark the achievements of women, is
instead an opportunity to highlight the ongoing obstacles that women face in their everyday
lives. Obstacles that Governments and society in general should have taken greater steps to
‘International Women’s Day began in 1908. It became official in 1975 when the United Nations
started celebrating the day. The first theme adopted was in 1996, when "Celebrating the Past,
Planning for the Future" was chosen as the aim of the growing movement. Today the motto is
calling to ‘Break the Bias – the bias that still exists.
‘Women have a very clear message. A message that has remained consistent. They simply want
fairness and equality. They are not asking to take over the world, they are asking to take their
rightful place in it. They are asking that their contribution be considered equal to that of men,
that their involvement be valued equally, that their participation be equally acknowledged in all
walks of life.
‘Women are asking for respect. They are asking for protection from harm. They are asking to be
valued. They are asking for change to happen.
‘They are not asking men to make these thing happen for them. They are asking for men’s help
to make them happen.
‘It is not good enough in the year 2022 that there is still a gender pay gap of 14 per cent in this
country. It is not good enough that, for every euro a man earns a woman will receive 86cents
for the same work in many areas of employment.
‘It is not good enough that women do not have the peace of mind to live their lives free from
fear of harm. How many women in any part of our country would confidently go out alone after
dark? This freedom is denied to women because we tolerate it, despite constantly decrying it.
We tolerate laws that are not a sufficient deterrent to prevent men from intimidating,
harassing, attacking them or worse. The vast majority of men do not live with this fear. Women
should not be expected to live with it either.
‘These are just two very basic examples that happen in everyday life where change could
happen. Change that could be brought about by men and women working together. Change
that could bring about a difference. Change that could pave the way for further change.
‘This is not a topic that we should be discussing in the House simply because today is
International Women’s Day. The points raised today by everyone addressing this topic are the
everyday realities of life for women across the country. They are not just the issues of
International Women’s Day, they are the issues of a lifetime for women down through history
who have had to fight for equality. Fight to be heard. Fight for fairness.
‘They should not have to fight. They should not have to demand. In fact, they should not even
have to ask. The question of lack equality between men and women should not even exist. Our
ancestors allowed it to take hold. Subsequent generations allowed it to continue. We must be
the generation that wipes it out’