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Quick Announcement

August 17, 2009
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Just wanted to let people know that M{y}na hasn’t been forgotten! Emma and I are currently writing our Master’s thesis and we have about 1 month left until the due date. Eek! Thus the lack of posting. Once those are safely (and successfully!) finished at the end of September, M{y}na will be back in force. Thanks again, and remember to visit us on Oct 2nd for our return.

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Event Reflection: Rally for Real Life

July 6, 2009

The Rally for Real Life was the first pro-choice protest I’ve been too and wow, was it an experience.  It was exciting, frustrating, saddening and heartening all at the same time, and it only lasted for about an hour.  My fellow protesters and I were struck by a lot of the same things and kept trying to  process the impressions afterwards.  Here are some of their thoughts…

It was so exciting because we were literally and physically taking a stand for what we believe in … There was a great sense of solidarity with other groups. ~Lucy

I definitely felt this too.  It was such an adrenaline rush to be proud about our beliefs and not be silent onlookers.   And we all loved the sense of community between the LashBack, RAG, ChoiceIreland and Socialist Workers Party members; not to mention the friendly and interested onlookers!  Others noted the clear amount of money and support the pro-lifers had access to, stating that,

The amount of money there was tangible, the funding they must have had. The sound systems, the slick placards, the giant banners were such a contrast to our homemade signs … it felt like it was our bodies against the machine. ~Emma

I certainly got a sense of that embodiment as well.  Hard not to when the subject of said signs, the chants, and arguments were essentially about bodies and their autonomy.  Overall, I felt a rather strange twilight zone sense, as if reality had become a bit tenuous.  Of course, that was probably due to the woman who called us satanists while she blessed us with holy water, the monks in full gear, and the many crucifixes held towards us as if in defense.   As my fellow foreigner Lucy said,

It was a bit of a novelty seeing things [like the above] coming from England.  I’d never seen that kind of expression before.

Ultimately, we all agreed that it was a very positive thing we particpated in; that it actually wasn’t for the pro-lifers that we did it, but for all the quiet watchers on the side.  They’re the majority that needs to be reached, and I’m thinking we got through to at least a few of them on Saturday.

Rally for Real Life protesters

Event: Rally for Real Life!

July 3, 2009

Saturday 4th July, 2pm at the GPO Supported by RAG, Lashback, ChoiceIreland

In response to “Rally for Life” , Dublin feminists have decided to hold a concurrent protest, the Rally for Real Life! Come in purple, green or white (Irish suffragette colours!) and join in. Bring your own noise and placards!

Themes include:

Proper Sex Education

Free Contraception

Free Quality Childcare

Improvement in Maternity Services

Better Support for Single Mothers

Support for Low-Income Parents: (Re-Introduction of Early Childcare Allowance)

No Tax on Child Benefit

Free Impartial Crisis-Pregnancy Counselling

Proper Regulation of Crisis Pregnancy Agencies

Real Life

Support the Living

I’m super excited that this is happening, because I’m often struck down by the hypocrisy of pro-lifers.  For example, when American legislator Cynthia Davis, tells hungry children to get a job, because she sure won’t be supporting free school lunch funding over the summer!  If you’re going to support a child’s life then support a child’s life.

What bugs me the most about the Rally for Life website is there claim that Irish people “clearly want to keep abortion out of Ireland”.   But guess what?  Abortion already happens. As a sexually active woman living in Ireland, I had to face the facts and decide on my “what if” contingency plan, and frankly it was an upsetting moment.   If that did come to pass, I discovered that I’d be joining the 4,600 Irish women who traveled to the UK last year (source) for an abortion, costing each woman between £400 and £1,500.   Thankfully, there are allies across the sea trying to reduce this burden.  But unfortunately, these costs are the best case scenario, as many under-privileged women can’t make this journey and instead abort in un-regulated and potentially life threatening situations.

Reducing abortions IS important.  But as the IFPA states

International evidence indicates that the most effective way to bring about a reduction in unplanned pregnancies is to improve access to comprehensive family planning services, according to the IFPA’s chief executive Niall Behan. Despite this there have been funding cuts in family planning services in Ireland, he says.

So clearly it’s even more needed to get out there on Saturday and fight for these changes and advocate these realities!  So come join us and Make Some Noise!!!

If you can’t make it on Saturday but still want to help, and/or would like more information about abortion and Ireland, please visit Safe & Legal in Ireland, they’re an amazing organization.

In The News: Ireland’s Unemployment Rate

July 1, 2009

Today, the news has been all abuzz that Ireland’s unemployment rate hit 11.9% in June, the highest it’s been in 13 years.  Currently, the Republic of Ireland has the 2nd highest unemployment rate of the 16 nations using the euro (Spain is the highest).  More tellingly, benefit applications for Social Welfare has increased by 11,400 to a record number around 400,000 (source Irish Independent).

What’s missing in the news reports, however, is a breakdown of these unemployment and benefit claim increases.   Personally, as a non-national woman, I would be very interested to see the numbers of how these increases are affecting men versus women, nationals versus non-nationals and other demographics such as age and marital status.  Women as a whole are more likely to be in lower paying and less secure positions due to either the necessity or desire for part time positions, particularly if they have young children.  This leaves us more vulnerable to the cut-backs and redundancies occurring across the country.  Just this past week, it was announced that 105 jobs are going to be lost in Waterford, and 80 workers will be made redudant in Co. Mayo.

This article gives a breakdown of social welfare recipients by area, and gives us this small yet compelling fact,

Unemployment continued to rise among both men and women, with female unemployment rising most steeply in the southeast, by 6pc, and male unemployment rising by 5pc in the mid-west.

There isn’t any analysis of why the unemployment is manifesting like this. However, I’d point out that the southeast of Ireland — ie Leinster — has the highest population of the country with just over 2m; while the mid-west –north Munster and south Connaught — only has about 700k.   This seems very revealing.  Obviously, female unemployment is steepest in high population areas with urban and suburban living, while male unemployment is rising the most in low demographic areas with a predominately rural living.

I’m hoping to join the job market in the next few months here in Ireland, and information like this only serves to scare me, not inform me.  As someone concerned with unemployment I want to see that efforts are being taken to understand the effects of the recession on Ireland’s different populations, not just the blank numbers. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more nuanced approaches, but I’m not too confident they’ll appear.  If anyone sees or has seen them let me know!

Welcome to M{y}na!

June 30, 2009

Welcome to our blog!  Please check out our About Us page to get to know us.  M{y}na plans to have regular weekly articles, ranging from How-To Tuesdays, In the News/Community this Week, Foto/Funny Fridays, to our key articles, “Through My Eyes..” on Thursdays.

Overall, we are attempting to share the very different faces of feminism in Ireland today, and the range of experience had by us all.   We welcome pertinent discussion & comments, and constructive feedback; however as a feminist blog we ask our readers to “Check Your Privilege” before typing.  If you’re unable to do so, then this community doesn’t seem like the right place for you yet.  Comments are moderated and trolling will not be tolerated!

So with no further ado …. have some tunes while you browse these other amazing Irish feminist collectives , seminar series’ and organizations!