Clara McCarthy, LinkedIn

Clara McCarthy

Many people assume I’m a girlie girl yet I love to surprise people by doing things like sky-diving, trekking in glaciers and backpacking for 6 months with the bare minimum (well; 2 pairs of shoes; flipflops and hiking boots). An only girl with three brothers there was never any discrimination in our household regarding chores; all of us mowed lawns, made beds and learned to use the washing machine.

Having an independent and curious streak from an early age meant that much time has been spent exploring new cultures and travelling across the world.  Upon finishing university I had a fantastic opportunity to do an international graduate programme based in Madrid for two years. This ignited my desire to visit Latin America. I fell in love with the continent but was shocked by what were considered norms. I felt a duty when I returned to Ireland to get involved with those who are providing opportunities to the world’s poorest communities.

Working for a global organisation like LinkedIn has allowed me, in conjunction with my amazing teammates, to help Plan Ireland to fulfill their mission of providing lasting improvements in the quality of life of deprived children in developing countries through a process that unites people across cultures and adds meaning and value to their lives.  I have been privileged to see not only the amazing work that Plan Ireland does, but the incredible support they receive from their sponsors.

Because I am a Girl I ask…to be accepted and seen as person first; girl second.

Because I am a Girl I believe…that every person is entitled to the same opportunities; be they male, female, black, white, short, tall etc.

Because I am a Girl I hope…that one day my beliefs will be realised.

Because I am a Girl I wonder…the big things; what does equality mean, will there ever be a world without violence, without war? And the smaller stuff; like why does nail varnish always chip?

Because I am a Girl I dream…of possibilities – for me, for my future children and for the millions of girls and women who have never dared to dream of possibilities.

Because I am a Girl I remember…always wanting to be a grown-up and owning my own handbag.

Because I am a Girl I like…being independent.

Because I am a Girl I dislike…the pressure that is put on women to ‘have it all’ whatever ‘all’ may be.

Because I am a Girl I feel…lucky to have been born to a life of privilege and opportunities.

Because I am a Girl I celebrate…the women and men who have got us here and those who are willing to make a difference for what they believe in – and finding the perfect pair of shoes.

– Clara McCarthy

Posted in Because I am a Girl, Business, Charity, Feminist, girl's rights, Plan Ireland, volunteer, Womens Rights | Leave a comment

Sarah Harte, Media and Communications Officer

Sarah Harte

Sarah Harte is Media & Communications Officer with Plan Ireland. Sarah went to DCU to study International Business & Languages (German and French) and spent her Erasmus year in northern Germany. In 2005, Sarah took up a marketing position in Tourism Ireland’s Brussels office, a highlight (!) being an appearance on the Belgian equivalent of MTV for St Patrick’s Day and demonstrating her Irish dancing skills (or lack thereof).

On returning to Dublin she joined Business in the Community Ireland, where she worked for over three years in a marketing role, getting to meet lots of wonderful people involved in corporate social responsibility, social inclusion and philanthropy (and Marian Finucane once made her a cup of tea!).

Sarah enjoys travelling, foreign languages, dancing, learning about photography, mexican food, going to the theatre, 90s r&b and rap, cinema, vintage fashion, reading novels and most recently has become addicted to Scandinavian crime drama TV series.  She is on the Twitter.

Because I am a Girl I ask…to be treated as an equal.  To be independent. To have a voice. To be shown empathy. To be understood. To love and be loved. (Is that a lot to ask for..?!)

Because I am a Girl I believe…that life is beautiful but short. I think that I can sometimes forget this, but every now and then, I remember and feel thankful for all that I have and remind myself that this is not a dress rehearsal!

Because I am a Girl I hope…for the best. I hope that things will get better for those who are suffering and in pain. I hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel for all of those who are fighting disease, struggling against oppression and abuse and for all of those who are going through their own personal battles, whatever they may be. I hope and hope, and know that this is all we really have.

Because I am a Girl I wonder…what life has in store for me. What will I be when I grow up? (I realise that I am 27 years old and “technically” a grown up, but still!) Where will I be in five years, ten years, twenty years? I wonder, and then I stop myself and try to live in the moment and take each day as it comes. It’s tough, though! And the Virgo in me just wants to plan, plan, PLAN!           

Because I am a Girl I dream…of a brighter future for young girls across the world. I dream of a world where abuse such as female genital cutting, early and forced marriage and all forms of violence against girls and women, does not exist. Violence against women has been called “the most pervasive yet least recognised human rights abuse in the world.” I am so proud to work for an organisation like Plan Ireland who, through the Because I am a Girl campaign, are raising awareness of these important issues and making a real and lasting difference to the lives of girls in the developing world. Violence against girls and women must come to an end.  

Because I am a Girl I remember…growing up surrounded by strong women, my mother, my sisters, my nana, granny, aunties, friends. They helped to shape the person that I am today and have given me strength, courage of conviction and the drive to do my very best. I want to make them proud.

Because I am a Girl I like…family, friends and community. I know they say you can’t choose your family, and although we have our moments (who doesn’t?!), I wouldn’t change mine for the world. It is because of their love and support that I am the person I am today. I don’t take that for granted and I hope I never take them for granted either. Same goes for my second family, my close friends. I honestly can say that I don’t know where I’d be without them to keep my head from falling off sometimes.  

Because I am a Girl I dislike…prejudice, ignorance, intolerance, inequality and injustice. Unfortunately, there’s a helluvalot of each of these things in the world. That’s why I think that it’s so important to try to do something, maybe just one small thing, to change things. I truly believe in Martin Luther King Jr’s quote, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”. Even if sometimes you think “what’s the point?” and feel powerless, everyone of us can make a difference no matter how small. Our time starts…now!

Because I am a Girl I feel…a responsibility to realise my potential and enjoy the rights and freedom I am so grateful to have. I know I have this thanks to many amazing women who fought tooth and nail for it and paved the way before me.

Because I am a Girl I celebrate…the small things. There is something in every day that can make it special, no matter how trivial it may seem. I never see the point in keeping something “for a special occasion”, that day may never come, so take out the good china, put on your party dress and crack open the bubbles today!

– Sarah Harte

Posted in Because I am a Girl, Business, Charity, Feminist, girl's rights, Media, Plan Ireland, Uncategorized, Womens Rights | Leave a comment

Keelin Shanley, RTE journalist

Three time IFTA award winner, Keelin Shanley works as a journalist in RTE Television and Radio. She currently presents The Consumer Show.

Working with RTÉ’s flagship current affairs television programme, Prime Time, she has made a number of landmark documentaries including Sex Traffic, Cocaine and Saturday Night, Sunday Morning which showed the impact of Irish alcohol use over a 24 hour period.

She has also worked for Radio France International and for CNN World Report. She has covered stories in a number of developing countries including post earthquake Haiti, gang wars in Honduras and the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s on-going war in Northern Uganda.

She has won a number of awards for her work including Science Journalist of the Year, Social and Campaigning journalist of the year, a Health Journalism award, a Law Society award and a Radharc award.

Because I am a Girl I ask…a lot of questions. And question a lot of answers.

Because I am a Girl I believe…that women should have more influence on how the country, and the world, is run.

Because I am a Girl I hope…to see an end to ancient practices such as genital mutilation and forced marriages that have such a profound effect on women’s lives from a very early age.

Because I am a Girl I wonder…will I ever be as good a mother as my mother was.

Because I am a Girl I dream…that some of the issues I have covered in my work – sex trafficking, juvenile crime, homelessness – will really be tackled.

Because I am a Girl I remember…what it’s like to be teenager – grappling with the contrasting feelings of always being right, and not actually having a clue.

Because I am a Girl I like…people who care about others, but also about themselves.

Because I am a Girl I dislike…the pressures put on young women today, in terms of their appearance, and their social roles, and wish they were better equipped to see what’s important.

Because I am a Girl I feel…proud to be associated with Plan Ireland and the great work that they do.

Because I am a Girl I celebrate…the life and good fortune that I have.

– Keelin Shanley

Posted in Because I am a Girl, Charity, Feminist, girl's rights, Irish Media, Media, Plan Ireland, Politics, TV, Uncategorized, Womens Rights | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ifrah Ahmed, campaigner

Ifrah Ahmed

Ifrah Ahmed is originally from Somalia in East Africa and has been living in Ireland for the past six years. Ifrah is a social and community worker and has worked on many different projects involving organisations such as Unicef, Amnesty International, Irish Refugee Council, Cairde, The Africa Centre, Spirasi, Somali Community in Ireland, Integration of African Children in Ireland and AkiDwA and others.

Ifrah is very interested in health issues and in particular women’s health needs. She sits on the Steering Committee for Ireland’s National Plan of Action to Address FGM. Ifrah became involved in this work because of her commitment to help others and to contribute to change of global perception of FGM issue.

In 2010 Ifrah set up a non profit organisation United Youth of Ireland that aims to support young people from migrant communities in their artistic, creative and business endeavours. She has been involved in organising events such as the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM, Multicultural & Diversity workshops, fundraiser, seminars and more. Ifrah has also featured in Hot Press, RTE, Newstalk, Dublin’s Q102, Irish Times, Irish Examiner, The Sun, Metro Eireann and African Voice.

Because I am a Girl I ask…when will world leaders stop fighting over trifles and their own pride and start helping those that need their help. When will world leaders understand that they have power and means to help millions of people in Africa and Asia?

Because I am a Girl I believe…in equality. That all people are equal before God. That we all deserve to live and to prosper.

Because I am a Girl I hope…to see the day when all wars are over and we all live in Peace. I hope to see a world where neighbours live in peace without killing each other. Where families are not separated by wars.

Because I am a Girl I wonder…why in many places of the world do only men have real power. Why is this power so often abused especially against women and children.

Because I am a Girl I dream…of an end to violence against women. Being mothers, sisters, daughters or even wives, Somali women are violated in many ways. Their sons, husbands, brothers, fathers and uncles are being killed. Women are raped, others face different kinds of violence.  No woman has to be a victim of physical abuse. I Dream of a Better World.

Because I am a Girl I remember…the pain and sadness I felt when I saw a pregnant woman killed by a bomb. I also remember the suffering I felt watching my people killing each other.

Because I am a Girl I like…to see the empowerment of women. I would like to see women prosper and have equal rights. Not only in a few countries but across the world.

Because I am a Girl I dislike…men who make women cry. Also men who make women feel like they are nothing, lesser human beings…or not human being at all.

Because I am a Girl I feel…compassion to all those that suffer from all sorts of ill doings.

Because I am a Girl I celebrate…that I am Alive and I have Allah that watches over me. I also celebrate freedom of speech that allows me to raise awareness of humiliating practices that are not known to many people.

– Ifrah Ahmed

Posted in Because I am a Girl, Charity, Feminist, girl's rights, Irish Media, Media, Plan Ireland, Politics, Womens Rights | 2 Comments

Diana Bunici, children’s TV presenter

Diana Bunici

Diana Bunici can be found in the elev8 loft, weekdays on RTÉ Two along with her co-presenters Sean Regan and Ivan Minnock. Presenting the daily live children’s programme is her first venture into television, having graduated from DIT with a BA in Journalism with French in 2010.

Born in Moldova, Diana moved to Ireland with her family when she was 8 years old and has lived here since. She has interviewed the likes of Justin Bieber, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Robert Pattinson, JLS, The Wanted, Mary Byrne and Jedward, created an elev8 Eurovision music video, sheared sheep and played air guitar in the national championships- all in the name of television!

Diana is highly involved in promoting diversity and interculturalism in Ireland having worked alongside the Irish Traveller Movement and their Yellow Flag programme which is all about celebrating interculturalism, equality and diversity in schools. Similarly, Diana is a supporter of  the Show Racism the Red Card campaign, very much enjoying her role as judge in their creative competition earlier this year. Last February Diana was announced as Outreach Moldova’s first ambassador and she has since been working closely with the Irish charity to raise awareness of their hard work in her native country.

Because I am a Girl I ask…questions. And lots of them. I’m a curious being and I love to learn about people and their lives. I believe every person has an interesting story to tell- lend your ears and you might be amazed by what you might hear!

Because I am a Girl I believe…that children are our future and that educating them from an early age can lead to a much brighter future for both Ireland and the world. A world without discrimination is what I dream of!

Because I am a Girl I hope…that the sound of laughter never fades. Nothing cheers me up more than seeing somebody truly happy or hearing the innocent giggles of a child!

Because I am a Girl I wonder…what the world will be like when I am my grandparents’ age. How much will have changed? What progress will we have seen? What will life have thrown my way and what technological and medical advances will we have achieved?

Because I am a Girl I dream…and dream and dream! I’m a big believer that whatever you wish for can and will come true if you want it bad enough. All it takes it bucket loads of determination, perseverance and confidence. Don’t be afraid to follow a dream, no matter how unattainable it may seem. Have a little faith and you’ll go a long way.

Because I am a Girl I remember…to thank God for all the beautiful, kind, supportive and inspirational people in my life.

Because I am a Girl I like…to daydream and reminisce and remember the times gone by. I’m a romantic soul and I love looking back and remembering the beautiful times I had with my family and grandparents in my native country.

Because I am a Girl I dislike…feeling inferior to boys. We are all equals and we can all work on the same level and to the same quality. There is no such thing as a superior sex. I never thought I’d ever quote the Spice Girls on anything but I feel really strongly about ”Girl Power!’

Because I am a Girl I feel…empowered. I believe in the sisterhood!

Because I am a Girl I celebrate…life and happiness and the fact that you can be the change in the world that you want to see. With just one little step, one tiny action, you’re already on the way to making a difference.

– Diana Bunici

Posted in Because I am a Girl, Charity, Feminist, girl's rights, Irish Media, Media, Plan Ireland, TV, Womens Rights | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trish Fallon, 1st Option Models

A northside girl through & true, Trish Fallon’s idol has always been her big sis Jules, who, to Trish, was one of the most beautiful models/people in Ireland when she was growing up.

Jules opened the doors of 1st Option Models Management & Production in 1997 and 6 months in asked Trish to join her team. Trish was over the moon however a little overwhelmed at the beginning, it did not take her too long to get to grips with the industry.

By 2000, Trish had made a good impression on Jules and the team at 1st Option so much so that Jules handed the day to day running of the booking desk to Trish and made her a director in the company, she called it her “Millennium present”! Trish is very honoured and proud that she has found some of Irelands most recognisable models and creative team who have gone on to build their careers throughout the world.

15yrs on and Trish is still as enthused today as she was on her very first day at the agency and she looks forward to 15 more years!

Because I am a Girl I ask… Lets all pull together & mind one another

Because I am a Girl I believe… In listening to the whispers of destiny

Because I am a Girl I hope… That all my dreams will come true

Because I am a Girl I wonder… What the world will be like for my future children

Because I am a Girl I dream… For health & happiness for all my family & friends

Because I am a Girl I remember… The first time I looked at my Dad & thought WOW I really love him!

Because I am a Girl I like… A really big cuddle & being told “everything is going to be ok!”

Because I am a Girl I dislike… Bullies!

Because I am a Girl I feel… Life is for living, we are our own writers, producers & directors!

Because I am a Girl I celebrate… Life & equality for all !

– Trish Fallon

Posted in Beauty, Because I am a Girl, Business, Charity, FAshion, girl's rights, Irish Media, Media, Plan Ireland, Uncategorized, Womens Rights | Leave a comment

Siobhan Ryan, Meteorologist

Siobhan Ryan, Meteorologist

Siobhan Ryan is a Meteorologist with Met Eireann, and has been forecasting since 2006. Before this she worked both in Dublin Airport and Met Eireann Head Quarters as a Meteorological Officer. Since August 2010 she has appeared on our screens come rain or shine as part of RTE’s Weather Team.

Born in Dublin, she studied Science in Trinity College, graduating with an honours degree in Material Science (Maths, Physics and Physical Chemistry).  With a love for the Arts as well as Science, she then went on to complete a Masters in Film Theory and Production at D.I.T.  In 2006 she completed her second Masters, this time in Meteorology U.C.D.

Siobhan is also joining Plan Ireland’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ team on Monday 4th June 2012 to run the Mini Marathon for girls in the developing world!

Because I am a Girl I ask…to be accepted just as I am.

Because I am a Girl I believe…it’s never too late to learn and create.

Because I am a Girl I hope…to be forever curious and appreciative of life.

Because I am a Girl I wonder…if I were a guy would I be a man, gentleman or boy. Or perhaps a mix of all three.

Because I am a Girl I dream…of blues skies, welcome rain and the rainbow’s end. And of one day seeing the Northern Lights.

Because I am a Girl I remember…it’s the simple things in life that fill you up.

Because I am a Girl I like…wearing clothes to colour my mood.

Because I am a Girl I dislike…excessive bitchiness. Let it go! Or better still…Let it be.

Because I am a Girl I feel…lucky to have such amazing family and friends.

Because I am a Girl I celebrate…our Venus traits, and how both genders have equally important roles to play in this WONDERFUL life.

– Siobhan Ryan

Posted in Because I am a Girl, Business, Charity, Feminist, girl's rights, Irish Media, Media, Plan Ireland, TV, Womens Rights | Leave a comment