How My Dad Became a Feminist Before It Was Expected

My dad has been a feminist since he was 10 years old. He had 6 older sisters, and he was pretty oblivious as to how the world saw them. That was until he learned about one sister’s salary. She was working down the lane from their house in a old mill, harder than anyone else in there, man or woman. My dad then learned, that she was getting far less payment than her male colleagues, because she was a ‘she’. This bewildered my father, and he told me it made him very angry. Very, very angry. He decided then he was a feminist. 

This was back in the 60s of Ireland, when women were sent away from their homes in shame if they got pregnant out of wedlock, or even were rumoured to be ‘promiscuous’. They would be sent to live with other women of their ‘nature’, doing chores such as laundry, cleaning and ironing. Women were paid less for being women. Women couldn’t walk into bars, even when they weren’t alone. Women were talked about if they didn’t get married, or didn’t have children. Women’s careers were decided by how easy it would be to leave the job once the kids came along. Not long before that, women didn’t wear trousers. They couldn’t wear trousers. 

In Ireland, feminism didn’t have a name, and it didn’t need one. My father knew what he was, what he believed, who he was. 

Let’s all stop picking at word choice and look at the bigger picture, shall we? 



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