By Hannah Giron Daygo
Hundreds of people gathered in Dublin on March 8th to celebrate International Women’s Day. The event was marked by a march that started at the Spire and ended in front of the Dáil Éireann. Participants chanted slogans such as “Women, Life, Freedom,” “Women’s rights, migrants rights,” and “same struggle, same fight.”
“When things are heading backward, we protest.” Action for Choice, LGBTQ, and feminist activist Ailbhe Smyth said. The eviction ban, femicides, and gender-based violence were all discussed throughout her speech.
“14 femicides in the space of a year on the island of Ireland last year. That is unprecedentedly high,” said Smyth.
“What we need to do is to come together as we do this evening, over the coming years to continue doing so, to keep up our fights…it’s not just for Women’s day, this is something we need to do regularly,” she added.
Domestic violence services in Ireland responded to 53,627 helpline calls in 2018 According to Safe Ireland. During the march, several speeches were given which highlighted the importance of gender-based violence awareness, inclusive education for students and the call for the separation of church and state.
The president of the student union at UCD, Molly Greenough, spoke about the need to separate church and state and to support inclusive education for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“I think it’s worthwhile to highlight the gript the Catholic Church still has on this country, perhaps best demonstrated by the abysmal of excuse of a National Maternity hospital, and our substandard sex education at primary and secondary school levels…That’s why today we are demanding a separation of church and state, and consent based LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education,” Greenough said during her remarks.
The organisers of the event, ROSA Socialist Feminism, were pleased with the turnout and hope that it will inspire more people to get involved in the fight for women’s rights. During the event they emphasised that gender equality is not just a women’s issue but something that affects everyone.
The International Women’s Day march in Dublin was a display of solidarity and a reminder that there is still much work to be done to achieve true gender equality.