The last days before Covid…
Every year for International Women’s Day, the SAOL project organises a week of events to celebrate. There is usually a Talktime event in Liberty Hall, where female service users tell their stories and experiences of recovery, and clinical and medical professionals are invited to listen. Before Talktime, the women take part in a ‘Hand Across the Bridge’ action on Rosie Hackett Bridge ( the only bridge across the Liffey named after a woman), where they span the bridge with hands held aloft and brandish Bras tied together end to end .
A piece of self-published research is also often published during this week, 2020’s study was entitled “Having A LAF” (Life After Forty), and was launched at The Mansion House.
The week of events leads up to presentation day , where Certs are presented to the women for completion of various courses. In addition, three special awards are presented: SAOL woman of the Year, SAOL national woman of the year, and SAOL international women of the year. Last years winners were Jecssia Hanney from SAOL, the Irish poet Rachael Hegarty (no relation), and world-wide environmental sensation, Greta Thunberg. SAOL’s official birthday happens to fall during International Women’s Week as well, so there is always, always Cake.
International Women’s Day, 2020, was planned as a grand celebration of each and every SAOL woman, and all that the Project stands for. Unbeknownst to the women and co-ordinators, however, the drastic changes necessitated by Covid meant that large meetings of people were suddenly impossible, meaning these were the last such gatherings they were able to enjoy for some time.