Artist I believe feminism means ‘gender equality’ across the board. If we stop defining each other by what we are not, and by who we are, then we have the freedom and foresight to help each other.
If being called a feminist means that women’s voices are as important as men’s, and that both sexes deserve equal opportunity — gender equality — then yes, that makes me a feminist. Can any country say that they have achieved gender equality? Compared to Third World countries, I am one of the lucky ones to be afforded these rights, which I would consider to be basic human rights.
Feminists can be seen as anti-family, antigod, anti-men, radical hedonists, and I believe that labelling still ensues. My reservation is that people are ill-informed of its deeper meaning.
My other reservation is that when you call something ‘feminist’, it naturally becomes about women. If it was called ‘the male and female equal-rights movement’ then it would rightfully claim to fight for equality. I think the issue of gender quotas or balance is relevant to men and women, irrespective of their family status in the workplace. For example, the Swedish work model offers shared parental leave for parents. In Norway, for example, there is legislation in place for quotas — 40pc of board members are women, compared to Ireland’s figure of 8.7pc. I think that Ireland falls down badly in this regard, compared to its European counterparts. The flip side of the merit problem here puts a question mark over female employees who are hired or promoted because of this — did they get the job based on merit, or because of legislation put in place, to fulfil a legal obligation? I think there are many barriers to female progression in the workspace, specifically for mothers, who are seen as incompatible with career progression by male superiors, unfortunately.