The goal of the Sisters Of Europe project is to “shed light on new voices, new faces and new visions to document where women stand in today’s Europe.” They continue, our “sheroes are famous and unknown, young and old, activists and astronauts, miners and politicians, but they all share a common goal: to change things.”
There is no better example of this than Ailbhe Smyth. As the project states: “Ailbhe Smyth has been active in the Irish women’s movement since it existed, and has been present in every milestone accomplishment.” While impossible to sum up the impact she has had in the progression of Irish society, Ailbhe has been the co-director of Together For Yes, a convenor of the Coalition To Repeal The Eighth Amendment and is a former chair of the NXF.
Ailbhe herself shared: “Delighted and very honoured to be included in the Sisters Of Europe project, alongside brilliant feminists from 16 European countries.”
In her stirring and essential interview, Ailbhe states how “Women [today] are much less ready to accept the inhumanities, the cruelties, the indecencies, the violations in our lives that previous generations did. We have not yet solved all the problems, but we do not take it sitting down. What makes me hopeful is the constant breaking of silences, showing how the levers jammed to prevent us moving and identifying that [thing]. Something really central and really deep has shifted.”
Journalist Joe Stenson who interviewed Ailbhe for the project described how he “felt a sense of her enormous compassion and humility. Ailbhe is an institution in the women’s rights movement of Ireland and what I really got a sense of was the enormous effort and strength of character it has taken to haul a once fundamentally regressive country to the vanguard of the women’s movement.”
The beautiful portrait of Ailbhe can be found alongside 16 other portraits of incredible women from across the continent on the Sisters Of Europe site.
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