Women's History Month #17 --St. Patricks' Day Version
Do you know about Mairead Corigan and Betty Williams who won the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for leading peace marches where Catholics and
Protestants together protested against the violence that was splitting
the country? Or Grace O'Malley, a famous 16th Century pirate, seafarer,
trade, and chieftan? What about Maria Edgeworth, 18/19th century Irish Writer perhaps a precursor to Virginia Woolf's notion that women need a room of their own; Edgeworth said: “Some people talk of morality, and some of religion, but give me a little snug property."
These and many other fascinating women leaders are chronicled on this Famous Irish Women
website. The graphics are quite charming, cozy Irish country home
style. But the stories tell of grit and glory, wisdom and courage. Take
a look and give a tip the hat.
More likely, you have heard and seen Mary Robinson, Ireland's seventh president and the first woman to serve in that capacity. “I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system,” she said. Elected in 1990, she served until 1977 when she became the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
a post she held from 1997 to 2002. Continuing to rock the systen
through her work to advance peace, human rights, and women's leadership
in all arenas, Robinson, a lawyer, is a founding member and currently
the Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders.
The daughter of two physicians, Robinson's family history is replete with reformers, rebels, and public servants. Check out her interview
with Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman regarding the conference of women
leaders brought together this month in Liberia by Liberian President
all the focus on women, Mary Robinson's thoughts about the impact of
growing gender equality on men deserve attention too: “In a society
where the rights and potential of women are constrained, no man can be
truly free. He may have power, but he will not have freedom.”
It's also notable that Robinson was succeeded as president by Ireland's second female head of state, Mary McAleese, who I saw being interviewed about the Irish economy by Meredith Vierra on the Today Show this morning.
big tip o' the hat on St. Patrick's Day to Mary Robinson, Mary
McAleese, and the many Irish women leaders both sung and unsung.