Oxfam Ireland Ambassador Sharon Corr is convinced her mother could have been a successful singer if she’d had the opportunity – but the social norms meant she had to stay home to raise her family.
“My mum grew up in an era where women were more or less dictated to - you must go to work because your brothers need to go to university, you must leave work because you are married and your job is now to look after your husband and have kids,” said Sharon.
Sharon is currently in the US on a world tour with her new album The Same Sun and said the title track was inspired by her trip to Tanzania visiting Oxfam’s women’s rights programmes.
Clockwise from top: Sharon Corr attends an event in Mgeta village organised as part of our We Can campaign to combat domestic violence. This social movement recruits ‘change-makers’, people who pledge to change their attitudes and behaviours towards violence against women. Sharon wears a traditional African headscarf presented to her by local women from Iyenge village. Sharon gets ready to play traditional Irish music for locals in Kimamba village. All photos by Barry McCall/Oxfam
Sharon is now supporting our Female Heroes campaign, which encourages people across the island of Ireland to celebrate the inspirational women in their lives.
“Going to Tanzania was a truly life-changing experience. It reinforced for me the power of women to change the world. No matter what challenges they might face and the obstacles in their way, women will do everything they can to overcome them for the good of their family and community,” Sharon said.
“My mother was a beautiful singer and I believe if she had had half the chance she could have really reached for the stars but she stayed at home and looked after us and she took great pride in that - making our clothes, cooking wonderful dinners - she did everything for us and gave us a wonderful childhood.
“She also taught us to follow our dreams. I don't believe you can put a value on that - she gave us wings so we could fly and dreamed of great things for us and I am so glad that she saw our success.
“To me a hero is someone who stands up for what she believes in, who puts the greater good ahead of herself and inspires others because of her strength, her kindness and her courage.” Sharon said.
“We’ve made a lot of strides in Ireland over the years towards equality between the sexes. But we must never take this for granted, nor forgot the women who made this possible from the suffragettes to the feminist movement. Our daughters will grow up with opportunities our grandmothers could only have dreamt of.
“Despite the many advances, women still struggle with sexism in many areas of life. My own experience in the music industry has been a largely positive one, yet there is still so much more focus on woman’s appearance compared to men rather than on her talent and abilities as a performer.
“But there are many strong women both on stage and behind the scenes, along with the fans themselves, who are changing the dynamic,” said Sharon.
Clockwise from top: Our ambassador Sharon Corr meets Female Food Heroes winner Ester Jerome Mtegule at her home in Lyenge village. Rice farmer Halima Shida shares a moment with Sharon Corr outside her home in Kimamba village. Sharon Corr meets last year’s finalists (from left to right) Mwandiwe Makame, Anna Oloshiro and the winner Ester Jerome Mtegule, along with Oxfam Ireland’s Monica Gorman, at the launch of the 2012 Female Food Heroes competition. All photos by Barry McCall/Oxfam
“Seeing the difference our support can make, I would encourage people throughout Ireland - North and South - to celebrate the women who have made a difference in their lives with an Oxfam Heroes card, gift or event.
“We all know heroes, but how often have you told someone that they’re yours? Not only is it a beautiful way to say thanks to a female hero in your life, but you’ll also make a positive difference to women living in extreme poverty worldwide.
“Heroes change the world in big ways and in small. My motto is that we do not need to do great things, just little things with great love.
Celebrate your Hero this Mother's Day with one of our special gifts. 100% of the profits go to supporting Oxfam's work with women worldwide. You can see more from Sharon's trip to Tanzania in the video below.