International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate some of the amazing women who make our country so great. After all, we are the country of women like Mary Robinson, Maureen O’Hara and Gráinne Mhaol.
In 2023 we can safely still say that we are a country full of intelligent, strong-willed, fearless women who fight for fairness and equality among all things. From sporting to business and fashion to education, across all sectors our little island continues to produce stand-out women who are making an impact that goes far beyond our country’s boarders.
Here are just a few of the incredible Irish women making a difference in the world on this year’s International Women’s Day.
Amber Barrett is the Irish international footballer making waves in sport. Not only does she play for one of the most successful women’s football teams in Germany, but last year she also represented Ireland in football where her goal solidified the team’s place in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Donegal sportswoman is paving the way for women’s football along with her Irish teammates, earning the title of the Women’s National League’s Player of the Season and top goalscorer on numerous occasions.
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Former digital director and UK Editor-in-Chief at British Vogue and Mashable respectively, Anne-Marie Tomchak has been an Irish voice on the international stage for many years. Having created and produced shows for radio, TV and online highlighting global issues such as artificial intelligence, data protection and sustainability.
Having founded the social enterprise ShareJoy in 2020, the organisation continues to raise funds for youth mental health charities across Ireland and the UK. Now founder and CEO of green-tech company, Design Tracker, Tomchak has paved a way for Irish women in media and business since the beginning of her career. A journalist at heart, Tomchak continues to write for publications such as the Irish Independent and Glamour.
Judge Síofra O’Leary
Judge Síofra O’ Leary may not be a name you are too familiar with, but it definitely should be. Not only is Judge O’Leary the first Irish person to hold the title of President of The European Court of Human Rights, she is also the first woman to hold this title in the history of the legal court. Elected to the court as a judge in 2015, Judge O’Leary has held the coveted title of President since September 2022. Judge O’Leary continues to uphold the European Convention on Human Rights and works to ensure justice and fairness for all across the continent.
Since becoming a household name in 2012 after winning gold at the London Olympics in the lightweight division of women’s boxing, Katie Taylor has undoubtedly lead the way in women’s sport in Ireland and in the world. Taylor turned to professional boxing in 2016 and continues to be the best pound-for-pound, female boxer in the world. Katie Taylor is one of only 8 boxers in history (both men and women) to hold the 4 world titles of boxing at the same time. There’s a reason people call her Simply The Best.
RTE, BBC, CNN, Condé Nast … name any large media corporation and Samantha Barry has probably done her stint there. From her days as a reporter at Newstalk to now being Editor-in-Chief of GLAMOUR, one of the leading global female-focused media titles, Samantha Barry has risen through the ranks to the highest echelons of journalism and media.
Consistently working to highlight some of the world’s more prominent injustices throughout her career, Barry is consistently shining a light on strong female voices all over the world through her work. Barry also hosts a podcast in collaboration with Glamour and Condé Nast Entertainment called She Makes Money Moves, where, in collaboration with financial experts, she encourages the financial education for women that is lacking in our education systems. If nothing else, Samantha Barry has made lifting up other women cool again.
Dr Monica Oikeh
She’s a doctor, influencer and online educator – Dr Monica Oikeh has done it all. Currently operating as a GP in Cork, Dr Oikeh is on a mission to educate Irish women and the world, on contraception, menstruation and women’s health. Dr. Oikeh also works as a medical advisor for the menstruation app Joii, on top of creating a series of short educational videos on women’s health that are now available on RTE Player. The Doc is creating sex education that actually educates.
With the likes of greenwashing, it can oftentimes be difficult to tell what brands and designers are actually sustainable and who is just hopping on the trend. One designer that has true sustainability at her core is Aoife McNamara, who created her titular brand in 2019 to promote sustainable clothing production that makes women look and feel like their best selves.
Inspired by the nature surrounding her in Limerick, the talented designer who formally worked for iconic brands like Marc Jacobs and Joseph now creates beautiful clothing here in Ireland. Aoife McNamara is leading the way for sustainable design in Ireland and we couldn’t be more excited for her future collections.
Last but not least is Ellen Keane, the superstar Paralympian swimmer won gold at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo for her 100m breaststroke. You may know her face from the 2022 series of Dancing with the Stars where she foxtrotted her way to 2nd place of the competition. Currently preparing for the Paralympics Games in Paris in 2024, Keane is a force to be reckoned with in the sporting world and inspires those globally to see their limitations as their biggest strengths.