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I can’t get it out of my head

It was an evening of contrasts.

94 women and six men is an obvious one (the men were like Man U fans in Barcelona…spottable from a great distance and quickly identifiable because we looked, by and large, awkward). A second noticeable contrast was the noise of people talking and clinking glasses before the formal launch and the incredible silence during the launch itself.

Silence and statistics

This was caused, I suspect, by some of the statistics used. I had not known that across the globe, one girl in three has been physically or sexually abused. That’s not a statistic; it’s a billion stories of misery. A few days later, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s a damning indictment of our world.

What does poverty look like?

It was quickly obvious that the project is a no-brainer. Poverty is a discriminatory beast which preys on the most vulnerable and that means women and children. Concern’s Angela O’Neill De Guillo spoke of what poverty looks like. It’s about watching a child die but not being able to afford medical help. You could have heard a pin drop on the carpeted floor.

Her message, though, was hopeful rather than hopeless. Concern’s programmes are built around responding to the need of the poorest.

Facing the problems

Concern board member Nora Owen reminded us why we were there: not only to support Concern’s work with girls and women, but also to raise awareness of the issues faced by women. She also mentioned that the entire launch was sponsored by someone who wished to remain anonymous.

Our ambassadors

Ten women have agreed to act as ambassadors to front the campaign and a number of them were there: Miriam O’Callaghan (who publicly confessed to enjoying scaring politicians); academic and politician Ivana Bacik; chef Darina Allen; actress and author Amy Huberman and, of course, Marian Keyes.

Marian has supported Concern for years. She even visited our projects in Ethiopia in 2002. Read about the trip by clicking here.

It’s perhaps best to leave the last words to Angela: “by being here this evening”, she concluded, “you are saying it doesn’t have to be this way. We must find ways to change the world. Women role models are vitally important and a powerful way to demonstrate that change can and does happen.” Amen.