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Michael D, Hozier and Ryan Tubridy all want more men to be feminists

The President spoke today about the issue of gender inequality.

11/3/2016. HeforShe and MAN UP Campaign. Pictured Today's reception in Áras an Uachtaráin. Source: Sam Boal

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins was today calling for men to become more active in combating gender inequality and gender based violence.

The President and his wife Sabina were hosting a reception as part of the UN’s HeForShe Campaign that was attended by a number of other men involved in the campaign including Hozier, Ryan Tubridy and John Delaney.

In his speech at Áras an Úachtaráin, President Higgins said that men need to be as involved as women in the political project of equality.

11/3/2016. HeforShe and MAN UP Campaign. Pictured Higgins reference d the women of 1916 in his speech. Source: Sam Boal

He says that men need to have the confidence to call themselves feminists.

“The change we wish for cannot be achieved simply by laws, policies or funding. Social change is necessary as well as a change in consciousness,” Higgins said.

One step in achieving that change is the building of an environment where men feel comfortable and empowered to identify themselves as feminists and as champions of women’s rights.

Speaking about gender based violence, President Higgins said that an “intolerable silence” around the issue must not be allowed to remain.

11/3/2016. HeforShe and MAN UP Campaign. Pictured President Higgins alongside his wife Sabina and singer-songwriter Hozier. Source: Sam Boal

“All of society is flawed if gender violence is allowed to occur, is tolerated, and if an intolerable silence prevails around this grave issue,” he said.

“Then too, no invocation of cultural differences or tradition can ever be accepted as an excuse for gender violence.”

11/3/2016. HeforShe and MAN UP Campaign. Pictured Source: Sam Boal

Higgins also used the opportunity to pay tribute to the women who fought in the 1916 Rising, saying that what they fought for has yet to be achieved.

The women of 1916 were feminists, many of them of the most radical disposition, but the true Republic for which they fought has still not been achieved, and will not be realised until we have full equality for all our citizens.

Hozier performed at the reception and President Higgins made reference to his song Cherry Wine, written about the issue of domestic violence.

Read: Plan to combat domestic violence will ‘make Ireland a safer place for women and men’ >

Read: ‘Broken arms, broken jaws, fingers badly bruised’: Nurses describe domestic violence victim injuries >

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Rónán Duffy

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