Madeline Hawke co-founded, and is now Coordinator of, the Irish Feminist Network and is also the Young Women’s Development Worker at the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
Originally from Canberra, Australia, she came to Ireland to study Gender and Women’s studies at Trinity College and has never looked back. Before that, she lived in Boston, USA, while she learnt jazz vocal performance at Berklee College of Music. Madeline is a serial intern in several women’s organisations in Dublin as well as volunteering with others.
She is passionate about feminism and its relevance to young women and loves boring people with feminist facts at dinner parties. Her life’s mission is to successfully marry her music career with feminist activism; this has, to her surprise, been harder than first thought.
Because I am a Girl I ask…and question things constantly. It’s not enough to assume everything is as it should be, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to ask why.
Because I am a Girl I believe…in feminism as a powerful force for positive change in the world. As Gloria Steinem once said “If you say, ‘I’m for equal pay’, that’s a reform. But if you say ‘I’m a feminist’, that’s a transformation of society.”
Because I am a Girl I hope…that in my lifetime I will experience a world where women and girls no longer feel inadequate, afraid, excluded or alone.
Because I am a Girl I wonder…why a woman’s body and mind is often valued and respected less than a man’s.
Because I am a Girl I dream…of the future constantly. I’m never content just staying in the moment and this is a constant source of frustration for everyone around me!
Because I am a Girl I remember…my feminist conversion. I read a book called “Full Frontal Feminism” by Jessica Valenti and was so relieved to find that my thoughts, fears and questions were shared by others, and had a name and an answer.
Because I am a Girl I like…chocolate! But more importantly, I love and adore my family, friends and mentors.
Because I am a Girl I dislike…diets and the fact that so many women are constantly trying to amend their body shape. All bodies are equal and eating food shouldn’t be an act of morality. A chocolate bar is yummy and that’s why you want one, not because you’re being ‘naughty’ today or that you need to go on a diet tomorrow. If more women started loving their bodies, big, small, fat or skinny, I guarantee you the world would be a better place.
Because I am a Girl I feel…emotions really keenly. I get very emotional about things, both happy and sad, and am quite deeply upset if I feel something isn’t fair. I’d make a dreadful politician as a result!
Because I am a Girl I…make a concerted effort to help, care and show compassion for every other girl in the world. Madeleine Albright once said that there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women and I’m inclined to agree.