Waking The Feminists, a modern movement about gender equality

12 Nov 2015

A feminist movement created inadvertently by the Abbey Theatre’s centenary programme for 2016 is gaining such ground that a debate will be hosted today (12 November) at 1pm in the theatre to discuss gender equality.

#WakingTheFeminists has been trending on Twitter for a few days now and, for those unaware, it primarily came about upon the release of the Abbey’s schedule for next year.

Waking the Nation was supposed to be a unifying call to Irish citizens, 100 years since the Easter Rising. Instead, due to it being an almost entirely male-dominated run of plays, it has sparked a fire among feminists.

Of the 10 plays on the programme, nine were written by men. This was something not addressed until Twitter users spoke out, with the director of the Abbey, Fiach Mac Conghail, initially handling the situation rather terribly.

He then, though, spoke in somewhat revelatory terms, saying: “The fact that I haven’t programmed a new play by a female playwright is not something I can defend.

“This experience has presented a professional challenge to me as a programmer and has made me question the filters and factors that influence my decision-making.”

It is these “filters and factors” that, one suspects, will be investigated in minute detail at a debate at the Abbey at lunchtime today. There is even a website set up supporting the movement.

And it’s something worth following on Twitter, you may be surprised who has thrown their support behind the movement already.

So keep an eye on #WakingTheFeminists over the next few hours, it should be fun. And we will certainly hear more from this movement in future – maybe even at Inspirefest.

Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Intel, Open Eir (formerly Eircom Wholesale), Fidelity Investments, Accenture and CoderDojo.

Play image via Criben / Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic