THE ANNUAL Women’s Week will no longer be renamed ‘Ladyfest’ due to the name’s association with the anarchist movement. Students’ Union (SU) Women’s Officer, Isobel O’Connor, explained that the proposed name was withdrawn as they felt it was “unsuitable” due to its political background.
“We found the term ‘Ladyfest’ had some anarchist links in some chapters,” explained Ms O’Connor. “We didn’t think that was appropriate for the week so we opted to revert back to the original name.” She affirmed that the idea behind the change was to generate interest among students as well as encouraging them to be more involved in the campaign.
“We thought a good name might draw a little more attention to it… give it a different slant,” stated Ms O’Connor. “It’s more about getting people participating in events rather than just attending [and] we thought a good name might draw a little more attention to it.”
SU Campaigns and Communications Officer, Dan O’Neill, echoed Ms O’Connor’s views by clarifying that their original decision wasn’t based on any political agendas.
“We were modelling it on the ‘Ladyfest’ that they have in Cork which isn’t outwardly an anarchist event” added Mr O’Neill. “When we found out that it started as an anarchist event, we didn’t want to politicise it to that extent… which is not what the Union is mandated to campaign on.”
Mr O’Neill emphasised the importance that such campaigns have and hoped that it would encourage more women to participate in student politics. He highlighted the lack of representation of women with political groups in UCD and referred to the current sabbatical officers who are all male. However, he does not believe that any alteration to this trend is straightforward.
“I don’t think it’s a black or white issue,” said Mr O’Neill. “I think it stems throughout society and I don’t think it’s as simple as introducing gender quotas or putting up a few posters… we want Women’s Week to be the start of grassroots campaigning on women’s issues”.
Ms O’Connor shared the same perspective on the subject and hoped that the campaign would encourage female participation in student life and politics. She referred to the fees campaign as an example of people becoming more politically aware and hoped that Women’s Week would encourage female students to become more involved in student life.
Woman’s Week is taking place this week, from the 3rd to the 7th November.