Women’s rights activists protest outside Central Bank

Thiago Reboucas

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Protesters gathered on Dame St. Photo by Thiago Rebouças.
Protesters gathered on Dame St. Photo by Thiago Rebouças.

Protesters gathered this afternoon outside the Central Bank of Ireland in a rally to promote public awareness of feminist campaigns.

Celebrating International Women’s Day, different groups of social activists took to Dame Street in Dublin to protest against a range of issues – from austerity to the legislation on abortion.

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Woman and child join the campaign for abortion rights. Photo by Thiago Rebouças

Approximately 200 protesters from the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the Abortion Rights Campaign, Action for Choice and ROSA (Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism & Austerity) were at the gathering.

“ROSA was set up one year ago on International Women’s Day. We seek to combat women’s oppression from an anti-capitalist perspective. We also bring women together to have political discussions and analyse why there is sexism and inequality in society and how can we end it,” said Laura Fitzgerald, spokesperson for ROSA.

Click on the link below to listen to Laura Fitzgerald’s full interview.

 

ROSA activist Rita Harrold, speaking at the protest, highlights the connection between the economy and the feminist movement:

The main issue facing everyone at the moment is austerity; we need trade unions to stand up with us and fight for the rights of female workers

A woman’s right to abortion is one of the feminist movement’s main campaigns in Ireland, and Rita Harrold Believes that the economic background also must be taken into consideration.

Rita Harrold, from ROSA, speaks at the protest. Photo by Thiago Rebouças
Rita Harrold, from ROSA, speaks at the protest. Photo by Thiago Rebouças

“In terms of abortion, if we had a woman’s right to choose tomorrow, and if it were an expensive private service, that would still be an issue. It’s also an economic issue if women are having to terminate a pregnancy because having a child is not affordable,” said Harrold.

No shortage of puns at the protest. Photo by Thiago Rebouças.
No shortage of puns at the protest. Photo by Thiago Rebouças.

Abortion is a controversial issue in Ireland – five national referendums have been held on the topic in the last 30 years.

In 2013, the country passed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, providing for a woman’s right to an abortion if her life is at risk.

Rita Harrold believes Ireland is in a peculiar situation in relation to the legislation on abortion:

The Irish government got away with abortion being illegal because England is so close

She also said that “illegal abortion means that hospital beds are full of women who have become seriously ill after trying to perform their own abortions”.

Austerity and abortion were some of the protesters' targets. Photo by Thiago Rebouças
Austerity and abortion were some of the protesters’ targets. Photo by Thiago Rebouças

The depth of gender-based violence within the European Union was revealed this week with the publication of a large study on violence against women.

The report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) points out that one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence as an adult and as a child, and one in two women have been sexually harassed.

Watch the highlights of the report’s launch conference below.

“If we want to protect women from the high levels of abuse that seems to be common across Europe, we need change,” says FRA Director Morten Kjaerum.

“Change in attitudes towards women, change in the scope of laws and policies, and change in how employers, healthcare professionals, internet providers and the police tackle violence against women.”

The report’s findings are drawn from face-to-face interviews with 42,000 women across all 28 EU Member States, making it the world’s largest survey on violence against women.

Among the findings, unveiled in Brussels on Wednesday, are:

  • One in 10 women have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, while one in 20 has been raped.
  • One in 10 women have been stalked by a previous partner.
  • Most violence is carried out by a current or former partner, with 22% of women in relationships reporting partner abuse.
  • About one third (31%) who report being raped by a partner have been repeatedly raped, which the report defines as six or more times.
  • Violence against women is one of the least reported crimes. Only 14% of women reported their most serious incident of partner violence to the police, while a similar percentage (13%) reported their most serious incident of non-partner violence.

Click below for a gallery of pictures from the protest in Dublin.

 

 

 

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Thiago Reboucas