• advocacy

    Votes for Women

    On this day – 100 years ago – the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed, giving the parliamentary vote to women aged at least 30 who had property or a university education (and to all men over the age of 21). Irish Women over the age of 21 obtained the vote when the Constitution of the Irish Free State Act came into effect in 1922. The Irish Government is celebrating this event with the #Vótáil100 Programme, which is a series of events taking place around the country discussing women’s suffrage. As always, I feel hugely indebted to my ancestors who fought so hard and endured great hardship to…

  • advocacy


    For Holocaust Memorial Day – the final speech by Charlie Chaplin from his film The Great Dictator. It remains incredibly stirring and appropriate. Shalom to everyone today. Support kindness, empathy, and compassion. Resist fear, despair, and autocrats. We must not revisit our great mistakes.

  • advocacy

    Resistance is Fruitful

    It should comes as no surprise to any readers of my blog or Twitter that I’m not a fan of the soon-to-be elected President of the USA. I have taken a policy on social media of not posting any of the stream of prophesies of doom of what’s coming over the next four years, but I’m making an exception with this segment from the recent episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. This show has provided exceptional, pointed, satirical reporting since it was first aired, and I think it’s essential viewing (you can find it all on its YouTube channel, including extra online material). At least you can laugh while…

  • advocacy,  Fiction

    She Walks in Shadows

    Within genre circles (sf/f/h) there are some debates that keep rising from the grave, like brain-lusting zombies. You chase the brutes about, slice off their heads, throw them back into the pit, and tamp the soil down hard upon their twitching limbs. Yet, they keep digging their way out of the earth. This is particularly tiresome if the debate is centred around – say – the ability of an entire gender. Since we are 50% of the world’s population, it should be no surprise that women come from lots of different backgrounds, which makes it difficult to make definitive pronouncements about the abilities/interests/desires of such a large group of people.…

  • advocacy

    Women Can Jump

    I’m not particularly into winter sports, but today I discovered a fact that will have me tuning into today’s Women’s Ski Jump at the Sochi Olympics. This is the first Olympics where women are allowed to compete in the Ski Jump competition. Let’s just consider that, shall we. It was only in 2011 that the Olympics committee gave women the right to participate in a sport that men have been competing in since 1924. Of course, nothing changed until 15 female jumpers from five countries sued the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the right to compete in the 2010 Winter Games. Which failed because the Canadian court decided it couldn’t impose…

  • advocacy

    oppression, subtle and not-so-subtle

    Here is a fantastic speech by one of Ireland’s best known Drag Queens, Panti Bliss (Rory O’Neill), about how subtle, and not-so-subtle, oppression in society is internalised by the victims of oppression. I particularly resonated with Panti’s description of watching a ‘reasoned debate’ on TV about why you should or should not be entitled to full rights – which is a thoroughly alienating experience for anyone who is the subject of that discussion (and often not included in the debate itself). Intellectual debates about the ‘rights’ of human beings and their lived experiences is a fine theoretical exercise that can be set aside and forgotten by those who are not…

  • advocacy,  comic books

    Irish Comic Book Month

    We’re mid-way through March, and I figured I should mention that this month has been designated Irish Comic Book Month. You can keep up with what’s going on at Irish Comic News, which is the best web site for news/information/sneak peeks of the work of Irish comic book artists & writers. Last night, to celebrate Irish Comic Book Month, Lightning Strike organised a talk discussing Irish Comic Book production. The guests included Declan Shalvey, Stephen Mooney, Robert Curley, Darrin O’Toole, Robert Carey, and Ciarán Marcantonio. The Lecture was held in Trinity College, Dublin, and from what I understand there was a great turn-out for it. (The audio from the event…

  • advocacy

    be part of the solution

    It’s no surprise to any of my regular readers that I’ve considered myself a feminist from the moment I understood what it meant. Most importantly, I have always stated that fact without embarrassment or the need for a self-deprecating modifier (‘but I like men!’, ‘but I never burned a bra!’, etc. etc.). Yet, for me it comes with a responsibility. I always remember that it’s due to the legacy of action by past feminists that I enjoy the right to vote, as well as a raft of anti-discrimination legislation. It’s up to succeeding generations of women to continue their mission for equality and fair treatment for everyone (irrespective of gender,…

  • advocacy

    Through a Girl’s Eyes

    I’ve mentioned before that I sponsor a girl in India through the fantastic aid agency Plan Ireland, which is part of an international child sponsorship organisation. I’ve always been impressed that it pays so much attention to the experience of girls in developing countries, as can be seen by its Because I am a Girl campaign. Earlier this year Plan Ireland asked me to contribute to their Because I am a Girl Blog. As you’ll see from the promotional banner Plan Ireland has been staging a photography exhibition – focusing on the lives of girls in developing countries – around the country and it’s now coming to Galway. It’s called…