Deirdre O’Shaughnessy is Editor of the Cork Independent newspaper. As well as occupying the top job she also writes about current affairs, politics and media and is a regular contributor on Newstalk radio.
This year she travelled to Haiti to help with the relief effort and reported extensively about her experience. Her personal blog can be found here.
Because I am a Girl I ask … for respect, kindness and freedom to be myself, because that’s all everybody deserves.
Because I am a Girl I believe … that girls and boys were created equal but not the same. We all have our own talents and our own inabilities. I know I can’t parallel park, but it’s not because I’m a girl, it’s because I have no spatial awareness! And I believe that women should be free to make their own choices about their own futures and nobody should judge them for it.
Because I am a Girl I hope … that some day girls all over the world will have the kind of life most Irish women take for granted, with the same chances that men have, and the same drive to succeed that is our birthright here.
Because I am a Girl I wonder … whether the women being helped by agencies like Plan realise that there is another life out there, where they are nobody’s chattel and nobody’s punchbag, and where they can have a life free from persecution.
Because I am a Girl I dream … of Ireland becoming a genuinely equal society for women, with female politicians who can represent the almost-voiceless 50% of our population and strong, confident female role models like Mary Robinson, one of my heroes, for young women.
Because I am a Girl I remember … doing better than the boys in school, and being encouraged to do my best at everything I did, but also being encouraged to be kind. Kindness is under-rated; the world would be a better place if everybody decided to be 10% more kind.
Because I am a Girl I like … to see other women achieving their potential. I think it’s wonderful to see women running businesses they are passionate about and raising families that they love, but I wish the state would be more supportive and make that struggle a bit easier. While most women want to be mothers, this shouldn’t hinder their chances of contributing to society in other ways.
Because I am a Girl I dislike … the fact that women can be their own worst critics. Women who are in the public eye are criticised for every aspect of their lives and appearance, even though they do their work as well as, or better, than their male colleagues. Men in the same situations do not face the same pressures, and much of the scrutiny and criticism comes directly from other women. We need to remember that it’s a lot easier to achieve things together than individually.
Because I am a Girl I feel … that I have a different perspective on my work and on life to a man, and that my perspective is neither better nor worse, just different.
Because I am a Girl I … hope that my daughters and girls around the world who aren’t even born yet will have all the opportunities I’ve had and the wisdom to know how lucky they are.
– Deirdre O’Shaughnessy