Nicola Cooke is from Galway. She went to college in UL & DCU and has a MA in Journalism. Nicola has worked as a News Reporter at the Sunday Business Post for almost five years – her fourth newspaper.
In 2009 the young writer won Transport Journalist of the Year as the first female to do so and she was also a Young Journalist of the Year runner-up in 2003.
Her hobbies include keeping fit, socialising, sport, theatre, reading and travel.
Because I am a Girl I ask… that people have a more philanthropical spirit – we may complain that our incomes are being reduced and our social lives curbed, but compared to around half the world’s population – who live destitute impoverished lives – we are hugely blessed. I sponsor a little girl in Zambia with Plan. It is a tiny token and the least I can do to give something back. I would ask more people to do the same. Give while you live – it’s a lovely feeling to get a letter from my Plan sponsored child.
Because I am a Girl I believe… in equality – as a right and a given, and not an aspiration. In dozens of nations women are treated as second class citizens, or less. They are reduced to lives as cleaners and carers. A career or independent single life as a young (or separated) woman, who choses her own destiny, is out of the question. Times change, and with it, tradition must too. Contraception and education have set women free – ongoing campaigns for these are vital.
Because I am a Girl I hope… to one day visit my ‘litte girl’ in Zambia and see the difference my sponsorship has made to her life. I hope she can strive for so much more because of it, and I hope that the next generation of Africans are free from the scourge of Aids and tribalism.
Because I am a Girl I wonder… how different life might have turned out if my mother had not chosen to remain at college when she had me, aged 18 years old, and was given one month off. She is now a school principal of 14 staff members and we have a beautiful home. She’s a huge inspiration to me.
Because I am a Girl I dream… of very little to be honest. I believe in making your dreams come true and that it’s always possible if you have the skill, and the will. I have achieved my dream of becoming a journalist, travelling to Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southeast Asia and a host of other countries to work, live and visit. Next stop is my own place and mortgage approval is already secured! I dream of further career success and that in time, this will also be a reality.
Because I am a Girl I remember… growing up in a village in the west of Ireland and the bleakness of the 1980s. I’m very happy I remember this because I now appreciate how lucky I am and the huge sacrifices my parents made to give me a better life. I remember working in my grandparents shop from around 10 years old – the start of my strong work ethic – and how a community is a wonderful thing. I remember very dodgy dyed hair, laughable fashion choices and the all-consuming feeling of my first ‘crush’.
Because I am a Girl I like… that, as the fairer sex, we can actually work with what we have to make ourselves feel sexier, stronger, or more sophisticated. We can style and dye hair, add lash lengthening mascara, a streak of blusher and a slick of lipgloss. Add a tailored garment, well- fitted dress or a pair of Jimmy Choos and hey, why can’t we rule the world and ooze appeal?
Because I am a Girl I dislike… why sometimes, ‘sisters’ don’t stand together more. The word ‘bitchy’ rarely applies to a man, and sometimes I see friends and other women falling out over silly things, that I can’t see the reasoning for. I wish women would be more practical, and not emotional, and outcomes could be different. I wonder why some women in positions of authority feel the need to justify this, by belittling. Respect should be earned, not commanded.
Because I am a Girl I feel… grateful to live and work in a society where I am deemed – rightfully – an equal to men. Be that the boardroom, bedroom, bar (yes, we were confined to snugs before) or roaring at the top of my lungs at a rugby or soccer game, my views and opinions count. From Emily Pankhurst and Constance Markievicz to Mary Robinson’s equality court case (before her days as Ireland’s first president) and Nell McCaffery’s bra burning train ride to the North to buy condoms, we should never forget those who forged this path and made it real.
Because I am a Girl I… am far from infallible, and know that sometimes with time, weaknesses can become strengths. I believe in forgiveness, and do unto to others what you have them do unto to you. I know that we strong, successful, opinionated woman can sometimes intimidate the opposite sex, and that is a result of a huge change in our roles across just one generation. But in the end, only being truly happy in yourself is what matters and counts.
Because I am a Girl I believe… we need to be less caught up with climbing the career ladder sometimes and instead embrace nature and all the free worldly pleasures like a great laugh with friends, a lengthy bear hug or ‘switching off’ to take heed of what our souls are saying to us.