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Who's in the Video

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland (1990-1997) and more former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002), has spent most of her life as a human rights[…]

We got our values for the world at a time when the world was extraordinarily anxious.

Question: How has Irish identity changed?

Mary Robinson: I would say that the traditional Catholic Ireland that I grew up in was very much focused on the male hierarchical structure starting with the church itself. But women on the whole didn’t work outside the home, and women couldn’t serve on juries. There were all kinds of discriminations, and many of those I went into public life early to tackle. So I was trying to change those circumstances from a very early stage. I think it was a combination of an inner sense of justice, and that sense that women had just as much potential, and that I had the same potential as my brothers which, in fact, my parents very much encouraged.