Senator Katherine Zappone and Dr Ann Louise Gilligan honoured among top inspirational female role models in Europe
12 Jan 2012
Following a successful nomination to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) by Marriage Equality, Senator Katherine Zappone and her partner Dr Ann Louise Gilligan have been featured in the EU organisation's "Women Inspiring Europe" 2012 calendar. With the publication of the calendar, currently in its second year, EIGE aims to give visibility and pay homage to some of Europe's most remarkable women, by highlighting their achievements and success stories.
Moninne Griffith, Director of Marriage Equality, said "We're absolutely delighted that Senator Zappone and Dr Gilligan have been featured in the 'Women Inspiring Europe' calendar. They are hugely inspirational women for the marriage equality movement - not only in Ireland, but around the world. Their struggle to have their Canadian marriage recognised here is a huge part of the reason that we have Civil Partnership legislation in Ireland today. While Civil Partnership is an important step on the road to equality, there is still much work to be done before equality is achieved. Senator Zappone and Dr Gilligan's continued challenge has inspired people from all across the country to join the campaign for equality for same-sex couples, our families and our children."
Marriage Equality nominated Senator Zappone and Dr Gilligan not only for their work with the marriage equality movement, but also for their tireless dedication to women's rights. In 1986 they founded The Shanty (An Cosán) - a distinctive model of community-based education aimed at tackling poverty, isolation, inequality and disadvantage that played a key role in crystallising women's community education in Ireland and worked to gain recognition of women's community education as deserving a state-supported role within the education system. They have also established the Centre for Progressive Change, which aims to respond to the crisis of the breakdown of financial and social systems that Ireland is facing by promoting an ethical vision that puts community at the heart of public life. The CPC offers services and training to individuals and organisations aiming to implement progressive change in the development of public policies and laws, and the design and delivery of public services.
Senator Zappone and Dr Gilligan are featured in the month of May, which coincides with the International Day of Families (May 15th) and the International Day Against Homophobia (May 17th). The 2012 calendar is the first time a lesbian couple has been highlighted as an inspirational feature. The text accompanying their photo praises their courage and devotion as an inspiration to others who encounter a violation of their rights to fight for them.
Speaking at the launch of the calendar, EIGE Director Virginija Langbakk said "So many women across Europe could be promoted as great examples of their career and actions. We selected 12 women... just to give Europe a glimpse of their potential and to demonstrate that people can make a difference - if they act, and in particular, if they act different."
The "Women Inspiring Europe" calendar will be widely distributed in EU policy making circles.
About the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE):
The European Institute for Gender Equality aims to promote gender equality, to fight discrimination based on sex and to raise awareness of EU citizens of gender issues. With the "Women Inspiring Europe" Calendar, EIGE aims to give visibility and pay homage to some of Europe's most remarkable women, through highlighting their achievements and success stories. (www.eige.europa.eu)