Because I am a Girl I ask … that we all learn to get along. Only girls can truly understand what girls go through in life, but sometimes we are all too quick to forget. Sticking together is crucial and standing up for one another is important.
Because I am a Girl I believe … that every girl should have the same rights as their male counterparts, especially with regard to education. Education is the most important tool for independent growth, and as someone who was lucky enough to live in a country where primary, secondary and third-level education is for the most part (for now) free and widely available, I think it’s the key to giving individuals the foundations to think outside the box and make their own way in the world.
Because I am a Girl I hope … that sports journalism, particularly, becomes more open to women. Thanks to strong, visible figures, like Gabby Logan, we’re getting there, but when gender-based insults come from a loud and obnoxious minority whenever she presents Match of the Day, or Alison Rudd appears on Sunday Supplement, or myself or some of my female contemporaries offer an opinion that doesn’t go down well, we’ve still got a long way to go. I’ve been very fortunate to have been received well by everyone I have come into contact with in the industry, and I don’t for a minute think that being a woman has hindered my progress, but when young girls see female sports writers and broadcasters being attacked, it doesn’t exactly seem like a viable career path. It’s the same for most of the media, but sports definitely needs a few wordy ladies to shake up the status quo –we shouldn’t have to put up with any abuse in the process simply because we are women.
Because I am a Girl I wonder … what the world would look like if more women were in positions of power. It’s a future that doesn’t look so far off, but there’s still such a long way to go and it’s up to the girls of today to be that change. I hope that positive campaigns, like Women for Election, are successful in inspiring young women in Ireland to enter the male-dominated world of politics, and provide a modern voice for Irish girls.
Because I am a Girl I dream … of a world where my two little sisters can aspire to be whatever they want to be, not what society expects of them, and that they won’t ever feel second best. I hope they are always proud of who they are and where they come from.
Because I am a Girl I remember … growing up surrounded by positive female role models, in my family, my teachers and throughout my day to day life. Without them and their belief in me, I don’t know where I’d be.
Because I am a Girl I like … seeing the difference people generally can make in the lives of others. I’ve been lucky enough to witness positive social change happen before my eyes as a volunteer at the Homeless World Cup in Poland last August. Things like that really give you a sense of perspective. I made lasting friendships that I’ll cherish forever, but its huge effect on me personally was nothing compared to the effect it has on the participants. The event gives homeless and marginalised people something to compete for, something to be passionate about. They have such great pride in representing their country and they have a chance, which the vast majority of them seize wholeheartedly, to prove that there is more to them than their individual circumstances.
Because I am a Girl I dislike … when women treat feminism as if it’s something to be ashamed of. Since when was it a bad thing to stand up for yourself? Some people simply think that to be a feminist you have to be doing something about it daily; that you can’t be a devoted mother, or a loving wife or girlfriend or partner, or feminine at all at the same time. Rejecting stereotypes doesn’t mean you must be the antithesis of them, just that there are other parts of you, or indeed other parts of other people, that are just as valid.
Because I am a Girl I feel … proud of the progress that has been made and hopeful for the future. Not just for women’s rights but for all kinds of social and political steps that have been made towards a better present and a brighter future for each and every one of us. It’s a movement that will never be finished, but we’re gradually building a better world.
Because I am a Girl I celebrate… the achievements of the girls around me. One of my closest friends is doing an internship with a judge in New York this summer, another is representing UCD at a National Moot Court competition with the chance to represent Ireland at an international competition in a few months. My best friend has just graduated from teaching college and is well on her way to becoming the kind of primary school teacher I would want to teach my kids. These people are my inspiration and my head is wrecked just trying to keep up with them!