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Why you need to use your voice; By Sophie Kane

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Sophie Kane is back to tell us about how important it is for us to use our voices and stand up for what we believe in. Don’t for one minute feel that because you are young, or because you are a girl, that no-one will listen. It doesn’t matter whether its animal welfare, environmental issues, women’s rights, or your right to wear pants instead of a kilt in school, formulate a solid argument, stand up, speak loudly and work as a team. Big things can happen.

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We are often told by people who just don’t get feminism that we should give up the fight and be happy with what we have. My response: We’re, as women, where we are today because of feminism and activism. We are a little more equal, a little louder and well on our way to true equality.  And just like all the amazing, strong women before us we are not content just because we can vote- and nor should we be. Believing in something, being passionate about some sort of injustice and standing up against it is an incredible thing. Stand up and be counted, for what you believe in.

Activism is all about getting engaged with issues you care about, stuff that makes you angry, and makes you want to change the world. What you want for yourself and for your future self and others, no matter what that is, is important to communicate and engage with. You don’t have to be an expert on the issue, what you do have to have is belief. Know that courage and activism are what got you the right to education, the right to vote, the right to have a carer and a family. There are still many more things to achieve for ourselves. What not to do is put on your blinkers and narrow your mind. Unfortunately many people who feel strongly about certain issues don’t take others opinions into account. We are all guilty of this at times, but try not to fall into this trap, even if it seems like the easiest option. We have a lot to gain and learn from people who think differently to us. Understanding why they feel a certain way on an issue you are passionate about makes you better able to stand up for yourself.

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Unfortunately, getting the courage to speak out is sometimes difficult for girls, our insecurities and personal hang-up can hold us back. In 2015 the National Women’s Council of Ireland carried out research on a group of teenage girls, 62% of young women admitted they were nervous speaking in front of a group because of body image insecurities, with 70% of women saying that how they look and felt about themselves has a massive impact on their daily lives. It’s hard to love yourself all of the time and everyone struggles with this- but we can’t let it stop us from going out and demanding better. There are days I just want to stay under the covers, on these days I still try to at least read or write an article on something I care about. We are all unique and this means we all have something different to contribute regardless of our size, race or sexuality.

Activism is about being a part of a bigger picture, a bigger goal and helping to achieve this is a great way to get to know people and yourself better. Whether it’s women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, animal rights; go agitate, be a part of the campaign. If you’re passionate about women in sports or science or if its politics that excites you express this in whatever way you can. We can and we will.

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