‘What I gotta say is rebel…’

3 Jul

After listening to the album ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ ad nauseam for the past 6 years or so, it only just occurred to me to see if Lauryn Hill had recorded anything else since. I was delighted to find that she has in fact recorded one other album, an MTV unplugged live recording released in 2002. Though not as polished as her first album, this one holds a raw energy that illustrates Hill’s talent, a talent that is able to transcend the three chords on the guitar she is playing and relay some important messages. Though preachy and zealously religious at times, Hill is undeniably a deep thinker and someone who has wise words to impart.

So, you may be wondering why Im reviewing a Lauryn Hill album on a feminist blog. Well, it was this album that provided the inspiration for this post. Throughout the concert Hill constantly reiterates the importance of staying true to ones own identity and furthermore notes the importance of having a social conscience. At one point she says:

“Fantasy is what people want, but reality is what they need and Ive just retired from the fantasy part ”

This is one of the most profound things she says in the entire concert. In order to excuse oneself from having to act on social injustice, it is often easier to live in fantasy. Many men and women would prefer to congratulate themselves on achieving gender equality, relying on fantastical interpretations of the world we live in. However, I feel its profoundly important to remain true to reality, particularly in regard to women’s liberation. So to illustrate my devotion to the reality of gender inequality in Ireland, here are a few facts, real facts, because nothing gets done when people live in fantasy.

In the words of Lauryn Hill, “let me break it down for you my friend”:

  • One in five women in Ireland report being sexually assaulted as adults.
  • 18% of Irish women who have been involved in intimate relationships with men, have been abused by a current or former partner.
  • 1 in 7 women in Ireland compared to 1 in 17 men experience severe domestic violence. Women are over twice as likely as men to have experienced severe physical abuse, seven times more likely to have experienced sexual abuse, and are more likely to experience serious injuries than men.
  • Women still do not have full reproductive rights. Abortion is still not allowed to be legally performed in Ireland.
  • Men dominate Irish politics, taking up 86% of the seats in the Dail.
  • Irish women earn on average 17.4% less than men for every hour worked.
  • Women in Ireland have a harder time making it to managerial positions. Only 30% of managerial positions are taken by women, lower than the EU average.
  • Women are at higher risk of living in poverty, particularly those over the age of 65. 21% of women over the age of 65 are at risk of poverty, compared to 16% of men.
  • Ireland has never nominated a woman to represent the country in the European Commission.
  • Women only make up a third of the posts on state boards in Ireland, 17pc of council seats and 12pc of positions on regional authorities.

And this is only in Ireland! For stats and information about global women’s inequality check out the site for the new UN women’s organisation: http://www.unwomen.org/facts-figures/

So to end on a Lauryn Hill quote: “Where we gonna go now? What we gonna say now?”. Time to face reality.

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