The F Word and You: Deirdre O Shaughnessy

What does feminism mean to you?

Seeking equality – not preferential treatment, just equality – for women.

When did you realise you were a feminist?

When I worked in my first office and saw how rare a high ranking woman was.

What issue/area is the most important to you? 

Internationally the treatment of women as second class citizens or slaves is something we forget about in the West when people say feminism is no longer necessary. In Ireland, the lack of any childcare provision is probably one of the biggest – it affects everything from women’s higher risk of poverty to the lack of women in politics and higher ranking jobs.

What do you say to people who say “I’m not a feminist but….”

They need to think beyond what they’ve been taught is a dirty word.

Where do you see the feminist movement going in the future?

Away, hopefully! I would love to live in a world where women and men were equal. But I don’t see that happening in my lifetime – Western feminism can be very focused on what’s happening here, but the women of the Arab world and in other countries need support long term to achieve even basic rights.

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One Response to The F Word and You: Deirdre O Shaughnessy

  1. I once asked a class of my peers at the college I attend. The class was composed mainly out of twenty-somethings, female, women in a social ethics class. The question was “what do you think of when you think of feminism?”

    The responses I got were “bra burning,” “outdated,” “old,” “confining,” “old” a few more times and finally “out of touch.”

    Out of touch? Yes, she replied. She said that there was a wide gulf between activists and people like her. A disconnect. She used the example of the Slut Walks and explained (more or less along these lines) “How does a SlutWalk do anything for me?”

    I guess my question is… What do you say to this new generation that may see feminism as a quirky publicity stunt by older women of the 60s and 70s?

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