ActionAid Ireland is an international aid charity fighting for women’s rights, social justice and an end to poverty. The second guest blog in our “Why Women’s Rights” series is by Make-up Artist and Entrepreneur Aimee Connolly.
Why do women’s rights matter to you?
As a woman living in the 21st century, I believe that it is vital that women should have equal rights to men. I have always considered myself equal to men both in business and in my personal life. Maybe this is because I’ve worked in the beauty industry from a young age. This sector is distinctive because there have always been a wealth of powerful women at the forefront of brands – from Estée Lauder, Helena Rubenstein, and Elizabeth Arden right through to Charlotte Tilbury. I was also brought up by a strong and inspiring single mother, a successful entrepreneur in her own right, who taught me to know my worth and encouraged me to realise my potential.
Coming from the background that I do and with the support I’ve had, I’m very aware of my privileged position and the opportunities I have had access to. In Ireland and across the world, women are still suffering discrimination when it comes to pay, harassment, racism, lack of access to promotions, education, to name but a few. Society is progressing when it comes to rights issue and a light has been shone on a range of injustices through movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. We need to make sure that real change comes from this. Ultimately I think that all women, wherever they may live, should have equal rights. If you empower women, society as a whole reaps the rewards and who can argue with that?
What is your proudest achievement?
This is a tough question, but it has to be growing my brand Sculpted to the point where I sold a quarter of a million products in 2020. It is my life and has been since I finished college. As a make-up artist and a commerce graduate, it combines both my passions and I love bringing new, innovate products to the market, as well as offering education through our virtual academy. The business is entirely self-funded and I saved since I was 16 to invest myself. I work with a team of incredible women and men and I’m so proud of what has been achieved to date and our ambitious plans for the future.
If you could change one thing for women what would it be?
It would be that women could feel confident enough to own their place in the world and their seat at the table when it comes to business. A lot of women feel second guessed or overshadowed in in the workplace and imposter syndrome is rife. Based on recent stats it’s clear that the gender pay gap is still a major issue and there is a lack of women in leadership positions. I would love if women were appreciated for what they can bring and were encouraged to achieve all that they are capable of.
What is your hope for a post-covid world?
I am hoping for far more freedom in comparison to how we’re living now. Personally I’ve really realised how I’ve taken the little things for granted and will appreciate being able to meet my friends, to hug my loved ones and go on holiday. Generally, I hope it makes people more appreciative of the world that we live in and what’s important when it come down to it.
This Christmas I really appreciated who was around the table, as opposed to what was on the table, as cliché as that sounds. For me not having my extended family there was really difficult but it made me grateful for that fact that even though we weren’t together we were all healthy and safe. It brought me back to the things that are truly important, like your family and your health, rather than the material things that we can get caught up in. I hope we all remember that feeling and work towards having fun and living our lives but not forgetting the fundamentals of what makes us happy.
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