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‘Banlaoch’ Mrs Sabina Higgins launches NWC 50-year celebrations

Published: Friday, January 06, 2023


Mrs Sabina Higgins today launched celebrations to mark 50 years since the National Women’s Council foundation in 1973, heralding the commencement of a year-long calendar of events which recognise women’s achievements and imagine a feminist future.

In a video message marking the anniversary, Sabina Higgins, who has been named as a National Women’s Council’s Banlaoch (heroine or champion) for the year, said the organisation has played a “crucial role in bringing women’s voices together to demand equality and deliver change” and that “it has also helped shape Ireland and make it a better country”.

NWC Director Orla O’Connor said:

“This Nollaig na mBan we are delighted to have Mrs Sabina Higgins, a strong champion for women’s rights over the years, launch the celebration of our 50th anniversary. As women, we’ve achieved so much together since 1973. We lifted the marriage bar, campaigned for and achieved access to contraception and abortion in Ireland, as well as decriminalisation of homosexuality and equal marriage. We’ve outlawed marital rape and coercive control, and at NWC we continue to demand an end to sexual and gender-based violence. When women come together for change, we are unstoppable.”

In the video message, Sabina Higgins makes reference to the feminist wins of the past, including the contraception train and the removal of the marriage bar, but she also looks to the future. She acknowledges the ambition and challenge ahead for NWC in the organisation’s next chapter, which will be intersectional and international, saying:

“Intersectional, in addressing the layered inequalities faced by women – Traveller women, migrant women, LGBTQ+ women, women with a disability, or from other minorities. International, by acting in solidarity and collaboration with women across the world who are fighting for their rights and for a more equal, peaceful, and sustainable future”. 

Sabina has been a constant promoter of the United Nations Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.

Sabina Higgins also spoke about the “long-standing feminist vision of a society and economy that better recognises, values, and supports care”.  She congratulated the almost 200-strong membership of NWC, whose “representative mandate and diverse membership has been and is a deep source of collective strength”.


For comment: Orla O’Connor

For any other queries, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator, 085 8619087 or sineadn@nwci.ie

Watch the video here


About NWC

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters.

The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.

We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity. Find out more on www.nwci.ie