Ireland: WoW Awards go to…

We are delighted to announce that the WoW Awards go to Mavis Ramazani, Caoimhe Butterly, Catherine Joyce, Marie Mulholland and Éadaoin Kelly.

These women have been selected by our WoW Group and external panel for their inspiring and necessary intersectional grassroots work and achievements in reaching goals of gender equality and social justice.

We would like to congratulate the awardees, thank all nominees, nominators and everyone who has given such a positive response to recognising and celebrating extraordinary women in our society.

Photographer and videographer Jeda de Brí will create portraits with the awardees and they will be presented in a city centre venue in Dublin in June 2020.

For continued visibility of women as fighters for gender equality and social justice a poster will be made, including all nominees, which will be shared in the national library network and on-line.

Mavis Ramazani – Global Citizenship Educator, domestic violence survivor and single mother.

In her capacity as a facilitator in Amnesty International Ireland’s Human rights education programme which facilitates student groups in secondary schools, Mavis guides teachers on how they can engage their students in relevant community based campaigns. Mavis has also set up a charity called ‘Cooking for Freedom’ for Asylum seekers and refugees living without cooking facilities. Mavis is an activist who shares her knowledge and experience of the International Protection and Direct Provision systems in Ireland with a variety of campaigns that currently exist in Ireland such as Movement of Asylum Seekers In Ireland (Right to work Campaign), and Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Ireland (Solidarity Dinner Campaign).
Mavis also works with young artists within refugee communities to empower them and she connects them with Irish artists to support and guide them. Some young artists have performed at the National Concert Hall and one young woman participated at Girls Rock Dublin. Mavis was also invited by Trinity College Dublin to be part of their advisory committee on refugee scholarships along with a team of Trinity College academics. This successfully led to Trinity offering four Asylum Seekers access to scholarships for the academic year 2019/20. Mavis is a domestic violence survivor and an activist for gender based violence. She has built strong relationships through her passion for community work, her work with Individuals, organisations, schools, universities and churches to promote diversity, social inclusion and integration. She has taken part in different public speaking events both as an individual and as part of a panel, in order to highlight, educate and create awareness of human rights and social injustices. Mavis was invited to a garden party in June 2019 hosted by President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Higgins to acknowledge the work of those supporting asylum seekers and refugees.

Caoimhe Butterly is an educator, human rights campaigner, trainee psychotherapist, documentary film-maker and single parent.

She worked for over 15 years with social justice, humanitarian response, education and accessible healthcare projects with refugee and indigenous communities in Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon. While in Gaza, she trained as an EMT and worked as a volunteer on Palestinian ambulances. She has spent the past seven years based in Dublin, travelling back and forth to refugee camps in Greece, Calais, Italy and the Balkans to work with projects focusing on psycho-social supports. She also produces films that document the courage and journeys of women Human Rights Defenders and those seeking refuge. Caoimhe works in education and with human rights and affected community-led solidarity groups while in Ireland. She is presently completing training as a psychotherapist, with a focus on trauma and resilience.

Catherine Joyce is a proud member of the Irish Traveller community, she has been a human rights campaigner for the past 30 years.

She is currently one of the managers of Blanchardstown Traveller Development Group. She received the people of the year award in 1991 in recognition for her contribution to Traveller human rights campaign. She was actively involved in campaigning for ethnic status recognition.
Catherine worked with Dylan Tighe, actor and writer, to write the play ‘The Trailer of Bridget Dinnigan’ which ran for a week in the Project Arts Centre and another week in Axis in Ballymun.
She was on the government delegation to the world conference against racism and xenophobia in Durban in South Africa.

Marie Mulholland is from Belfast.

At the age of 18 she joined her first women’s group, Belfast Women Against Imperialism and in 1979 was arrested on International Womens Day for protesting the conditions of Republican women prisoners held in Armagh Gaol.
For most of the 80s she was a community worker in West Belfast and instrumental in the campaign to have Divis Flats demolished, once described as the worst housing in Western Europe. She joined NUPE later to become UNISON and spent 16 years as a senior lay trade union activist under the mentorship of its indomitable regional secretary the late, Inez Mc Cormack.

Throughout the 80s and 90s together with a number of close friends and sister activists, Marie helped women in need of abortions to obtain services and supports in Britain by raising funds for their journeys, linking women in need to safe houses and supportive contacts in the UK.

In 1989 against a backdrop of intense sectarian conflict she co-founded the Women’s Support Network, a community organisation of working- class women from Republican and Loyalist areas of Belfast actively campaigning on a feminist platform for women’s rights and services. From 1993-1996, the Women’s Support Network was lead organisation in the ground breaking research conducted by the recently deceased Professor Cynthia Cockburn on women in conflict zones when Marie and the WSN worked with women from Palestine & Israel and Bosnia to explore how women from divided communities work together.

Under Marie’s leadership, the WSN developed a number of pioneering projects; Frontline Feminisms and the cross -border projects; Making Women Seen & Heard and the POWER Project. The organisation was also one of the early members of the Equality Alliance in the North which lobbied for the equality clause in the Good Friday Agreement and the development of the North’s equality legislation.

After campaigning for the acceptance of the Good Friday Agreement, Marie headed to Dublin to study for an MA in Women Studies in UCD. In 2002, she published the first biography of Dr. Kathleen Lynn, revealing Lynn’s lifetime relationship with Madeline Ffrench Mullen both of whom were active in the Irish Citizen Army and revolutionary combatants in 1916.

In Dublin, she worked for the Equality Authority and had responsibility for developing the sexual orientation equality brief of the agency and the production of the first national report on LGB rights and recommendations. Marie also chaired the Irish Council of Civil Liberties working group on Diverse Families whose findings formed the basis for later Partnership Rights and Same Sex Marriage campaigns in Ireland. Marie has also worked in women’s drug rehabilitation in Dublin’s North Inner City and with adult survivors of Catholic residential abuse. In 2006 she took a sabbatical to work with the Palestinian Women’s Research and Development Centre in Ramallah to assist in organising a conference on Violence Against Women.
Since 2012, Marie has been the co-ordinator of West Cork Women Against Violence, the regional domestic violence support service for women and children where she has now raised enough funds to open later in 2020, West Cork’s first Safe house for women and children.

Marie lives in West Cork with her partner, Tracey. She has very recently celebrated her 60th birthday and is looking forward to her next adventure- aging with attitude.

Éadaoin Kelly is the Principal of St. Mary’s Primary School on Dorset Street in north inner-city Dublin.

The school has a diverse community, with 88% of children from minority ethnic groups, who speak English as an additional language. The school is one of only six schools in the country to be awarded a Yellow Flag for its work on Inclusion and Diversity this year, with a focus on anti-racism and discrimination. Éadaoin has spent her career working in schools in areas of social disadvantage in Dublin and London. She is passionate about breaking down societal barriers, giving a voice to the vulnerable and isolated, and with the support of her committed and energetic school team, Éadaoin has led the development of children’s voices in school, establishing a range of children’s teams to take leadership roles on key projects. These groups allow children the space and time to have ownership, to feel valued and heard and to make a change – key skills for learning and life. A skilled choral conductor, Éadaoin uses singing and the arts to bring the school community together. She recognizes that one of the most important ways to reduce isolation and increase participation in marginalized communities is by providing children with opportunities to be inspired, to experience, to create and to perform.