To mark International Women’s Day, which was celebrated on Sunday, March 8, The Impartial Reporter spoke to local women about the strong women in their families, and how they inspire and empower each other.

Jenny Irvine celebrated International Women’s day with her mother Breda Hickey and daughter Shani Irvine.

“My mum is 83, so she probably grew up in a very different world and my daughter, she’s 25, so the opportunities that hopefully she will have maybe women in generations before, didn’t. In my mum’s generation, when a woman got married, she couldn’t work or it was frowned upon, so it was these women who would have set a path, my mum always worked throughout my childhood and that was quite strong to actually stand up and say that they place a value on their career and they are going to continue it.

“I suppose it’s the things that we take so much for granted now, that women before struggled to achieve,” shared Jenny, adding: “I think the generation of women now need support probably even more because we are trying to do everything at every level and it’s just about being kind to one another and encouraging.”

Sharing how her mother Breda inspires her, Jenny said: “She’s just so full of no-nonsense common sense. My mum loves to travel and in January there was talk about the coronavirus and my mum decided no this is serious, I’m not going travelling and we said, ‘it can’t be that bad’ and now she’s saying, ‘I told you so’.

“I suppose that tacit knowledge we value and I suppose appreciating the wisdom of years and passing it on.

“It’s funny because I open my mouth and my mother comes out without meaning to. I’ve got to that point where I say things and I realise I’ve become my mum,” Jenny laughed.

When asked how she encourages her daughter Shani, Jenny commented: “When I look at her now, I don’t think I need to. She’s a strong, determined woman. Even the confidence of young women, I think that’s fabulous, it’s just so refreshing to see that. I don’t think I did so intentionally but I’m so proud of the strong and determined woman she is.”

Sharon Morrison and Brigid Brady not only have a close mother-daughter relationship, but also a great working relationship in Rebecca’s Coffee Shop.

Sharing how her mother inspires her, Sharon said: “My mum is a really hard worker, so I suppose she has instilled that in me and I’ve always tried to run the business as good as she was able to run it.”

She added: “She’s a really good baker, so I take my baking from her as well. Generally because she is such a hard worker, I think that has gone into me as well.

She’s honest, she’s really good with staff and I’ve taken a lot of that from her.”

Speaking proudly of her daughter Brigid said with a smile: “She has a great personality, there’s great get up and go with her, she’s a joy to work with and she’s a great daughter.

She does inspire me in the coffee shop alone, she’s always trying to bring in new things and do something different, and then you’re up behind her and you say ‘oh yes, that’s good’.”

“She also makes me feel younger,” laughed Brigid.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality.