International women’s day commemorates the movement of women’s rights and I want to take this opportunity to re-educate myself on the poignancy of this day.
I am a feminist but I am not a women’s right expert. Even when studying for my Masters in Human Rights, I found myself gravitating towards the injustices and violations surrounding access to food, and not women (yes, they are linked).
I need this day as much as anyone else to remember those who have fought for what so many of us take for granted. The proliferation of our social, economic, political and civil rights in Ireland (whilst there is a long way to go in many ways) is thanks to women like Countess Constance Markievick, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, Rosie Hacket, Mary Kenny and Mary Robison.
As the women who enjoy the fruits of their labour I believe it is our duty and responsibility to educate ourselves on their sacrifices and achievements.
However, there is a duality to International Women’s Day that means we can and should celebrate the women who inspire in us our daily confidence and empowerment.
I can celebrate the two most influential Marys in my life. Mary Robinson, first female President of Ireland, UN Commissioner for Human Rights and founding member of the Council of Women World Leaders AND Mary O’Reilly, my mother, my rock and my best friend.
Since closing the chapter on my life represented by Trinity College, human rights and so much more, I found myself moving towards a different kind of empowerment; female emotional empowerment.
For me, emotional empowerment refers to our feelings about ourselves and the story we tell ourselves about our own lives and about the world.
It is about letting go of who we think we should be and embracing who we are (thank you, Brene Brown).
I believe our ability to impact our political, social and economic landscape will, in part, be determined by our confidence, self-belief and resilience. Our emotional empowerment is crucial if we are to step up, lean in (thank-you, Sherly Sandberg) and be heard.
I believe emotional empowerment is the way forward. It is the journey and the destination.
Happy International Women's Day; may we never forget the women who fought and continue to fight, for the freedom, representation and rights we enjoy today.
Sarah Doyle is a life coach, a speaker, the creator or L-School and The Empowered Women Workshops, the founder of The Better Life Project and author of Be Your Own Best Friend. Sarah works with women all over the world to help them achieve their personal and professional goals, whilst developing their confidence and self-esteem.