Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - GIRL POWER -

Feminism, to me, is a good idea with a bad im­age. I sup­pose I am an ad­vo­cate for women’s rights and hav­ing the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as men. When I was grow­ing up, my mother was a teacher, my fa­ther was a farmer. My mother was a very strong woman, and it was al­ways a case of, ‘If you want to be the cap­tain of a sports team or if you want to be the Pres­i­dent of a coun­try, then you have ev­ery chance of be­ing it as a woman, the same as you would if you were a man’. I think that’s kind of for me what feminism is about — it’s about equal op­por­tu­nity.

But it doesn’t mean that you should bump up the num­bers of women in any­thing just be­cause there seems to be a short­age, be­cause some­times there is a rea­son for the short­age. I think maybe there’s a lack of con­fi­dence in women to put them­selves for­ward. I’ve seen it my­self: you’d of­ten have men that would be un­der-qual­i­fied to do a job, and they’d be sit­ting across the table from a woman that’s overqual­i­fied, and yet the man would put his hand up faster. I think that’s an in­nate in­stinct, not all the time, but, as a rule, men have that con­fi­dence in them­selves to give it a go. Whereas women can some­times doubt them­selves and not put them­selves for­ward.

Ul­ti­mately, for me, feminism is about free­dom for women to be who­ever they want to be and to achieve what­ever goal that they’ve dreamed of achiev­ing. But I would like to think that there should be a bit of feminism in ev­ery­body, men and women, be­cause ul­ti­mately a man might grow up to have a daugh­ter, and he will want equal op­por­tu­nity for her.

I was a girl who grew up play­ing sport in a very much male-dom­i­nated en­vi­ron­ment. I played sport with my nails painted, wear­ing fake tan. I might defy the stereo­type of what peo­ple per­ceived sports women to look like. In my ca­reer, I’ve of­ten had peo­ple say, ‘You don’t look like a camo­gie player’, to which I’d of­ten re­spond, ‘Well, can you en­lighten me — what does a camo­gie player look like?’ I think it’s about ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple to treat every­one, re­gard­less of gen­der, with re­spect.

For me, it’s about the free­dom to choose what­ever you want to be; it’s about of­fer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to both. It’s about ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple and about the re­spect and treat­ment that we should have for each other. A lot of the time when I am asked am I a fem­i­nist, what I would say is: ‘Well, what does a fem­i­nist mean to you?’ If that per­son has this idea of a bra-burner, then they have a com­pletely dif­fer­ent idea of feminism to me. It’s about women play­ing a part and not get­ting their re­ward per­haps in equal mea­sure, be­cause, you know, we need to speak up for our­selves a lit­tle more; we need to put our­selves for­ward for those jobs; we need to sup­port each other, in­stead of tear­ing each other down in our en­deav­our.

Sports con­trib­u­tor, pre­sen­ter, and fam­ily coach for ‘Ire­land’s Fittest Fam­ily’

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