Louise O’Neill – Why Women’s Rights?

  • Date: 21/01/2021
  • Author: Louise O'Neill
Why Womens Rights blog by Louise ONeill

ActionAid Ireland is an international aid charity fighting for women’s rights, social justice and an end to poverty. Over the coming weeks, we will publish a regular guest blog by influential women in Ireland, on the topic “Why Women’s Rights?”

First up is award-winning Irish Author, Louise O’Neill.

Why do women’s rights matter to you? 

Women’s rights matter to me because fairness matters to me. Feminism is about equal rights and opportunities for men and women, regardless of race, age, gender identification, sexuality, religion etc. Women’s rights should matter to everyone. Until all of us are equal, none of us are. 

What is your proudest achievement? 

I’m very proud of my recovery from an eating disorder. After spending almost two decades struggling with anorexia and bulimia, it’s not something I ever take for granted. 

If you could change one thing for women what would it be?  

I would ensure that every girl in the world received an education. In developing countries, it is estimated that only 47% of girls are enrolled in primary school, dropping to 12% at secondary school. We know that educating girls means they are more likely to marry and have children later, and that every extra year in school increases their future earnings by 15%.  Education is important and it should be an unassailable right for all young women.

What is your hope for a post-covid world? 

A recent report published by CNN found that US employers cut 140,000 jobs in December, and women accounted for ALL the losses. If we look closer at those figures, the majority of the women who lost those jobs were Black and Latina. I am deeply concerned about this. In a post-Covid world, I hope efforts will be made to ensure that not only are these women reinstated in the work place, but that they are given equal pay to their male peers.  

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