'I was lost in a wilderness for years with no idea of what female empowerment really looked or felt like. Feminism wasn't for girls like me...' To celebrate International Women's Day (Monday, March 8th), Kathy Scott of The Trailbazery writes for Culture about her own journey.

On International Women's Day, I find myself reflecting on the generations of trailblazing women who have paved the way for women like me to have a voice today.

When I think of their commitment and vision I wonder what a world might look like where we no longer need to mark a day in the global calender to promote gender equality.

International Women’s Day is dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in the social, economic, cultural, and political spheres and advocating for what is still needed in our world today. In recent decades, we have seen remarkable progress on women’s rights and leadership but in order for real change to happen we also need to address the collective trauma that women and men have inherited from the patriarchal structures that have been in place for thousands of years. It’s time to dismantle these dominant structures that no longer serve us and instead tend to the collective trauma symptoms we are experiencing because of them. 

One of my own teachers Thomas Hübl, an expert in the field of collective trauma observes that "unresolved past is destiny; it repeats." We know from scientific research that intergenerational trauma overwhelms the nervous system and passes like a family inheritance from one generation to the next until the material is claimed, processed and integrated. 

In Ireland, our great-grandmothers, grandmothers and mothers gave birth to future generations in a repressive cultural climate. As the Catholic Church fought to control female sexuality, our justice system created laws to prevent women’s access to the equal citizenship promised in the Proclamation. 

The domination of Church and State has made a huge impact on the lives of millions of women and men. It left in its wake a legacy of cultural trauma that still exists today. The past continues to live in the present…

We are still experiencing the collective impact of these traumas every time a report is published on Clerical Abuses, Magdalene Laundries, Mother and Baby Homes, Industrial Schools and Direct Provision. The cycle continues in perpetuum – constellating from the individuals to families, communities, nations and beyond until the lost pieces of the story are eventually restored and pieced back together again.

1991 Housewife of the Year winner Elaine Murphy

Once I started to explore some of my own cultural inheritance I realised it was like entering a labyrinth. Growing up in Tipperary in 1980’s Ireland was a bit of a cultural timewarp for a young girl. Feminist references where thin on the ground and spread somewhere between Margaret Thatcher’s Iron Lady, the Calor Kosangas Housewife of the Year and Sue Ellen’s shoulder pads on Saturday nights’ latest episode of Dallas. Not a sign of Gloria Steinem or Maya Angelou, I was lost in a wilderness for years with no idea of what female empowerment really looked or felt like. Feminism wasn’t for girls like me.

So I survived 80’s Tipp but remained a very reluctant feminist until I eventually found inspiring role models and allies to guide me on my path. Over the years as a teacher and mentor I have witnessed hundreds of women from all walks of life who also report feelings of disconnection, loss and abandonment. I have listened to their stories and sensed a palpable hunger for community, sovereignty and agency. 

International Women's Day is dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in the social, economic, cultural, and political spheres and advocating for what is still needed in our world today.

So, in the wake of #WakingtheFeminists #MeToo and #Repeal, we initiated Moon Medicine at The Trailblazery as a community for women’s empowerment in Ireland. In 2019 we launched the Moon Medicine Academy, a global year-long online training programme for women.

The Moon Medicine Academy is a learning space for women to rise and lift each other up along the way. This heroine’s journey is a deep dive of discovery that supports the elevation of women all over the world. We come together to reclaim our sovereignty through a variety of practices within a supportive community of like-minded women.

In 2020 we hosted a community of brilliant women from all corners of the world. We gathered online every month to learn and share in circle just as women have done since time immemorial. Together we weathered a global pandemic and emerged stronger because of the transformative power of collective sisterhood. 

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We have learned that we were made for these times and that when women come together to lift each other up something powerful happens. If you are seeking heartfelt connection, inspired empowerment and a new sisterhood then this great ship is built for you. 

Kathy Scott is Creative Director of The Trailblazery. Doors open for the Moon Medicine Academy 2021/22 programme on 22 March. Join the waitlist here.