Tesco Ireland have a very special surprise for International Women's Day today

The retail juggernaut has partnered with the Women’s Museum of Ireland to shine a light on inspirational women of Ireland in celebration of International Women’s Day, with a special installation across its stores today.

Tesco Ireland aims to showcase Ireland’s historic female figures and their pioneering contributions to society, by providing a platform for those both well and lesser known in Ireland’s history.

Six of the inspiring women featured in the Women’s Museum of Ireland activation in Tesco stores nationwide were chosen by Tesco colleagues on foot of their historic impact both at home and abroad and how they’ve influenced them in today’s world. Customers of Tesco stores across the country will see the stories of these women come to life today.

The Women’s Museum of Ireland, a virtual museum, was founded in 2012 to promote the formal recognition of the role of women in Irish history as well as the role of Irish women abroad. The museum hopes to encourage the continuation of these successes in a new generation of women in Ireland and abroad.

Jeanne Sutton, who runs the Women’s Museum of Ireland on a voluntary basis, said:

“We’re very proud to have a spotlight on our women of history with Tesco for International Women’s Day. With no physical location, our Museum lives online and we’re very happy to have it brought to life across Ireland with the help of Tesco Ireland; we’ll reach a whole new audience and the stories of our Women will live on in new mediums.”

Ruairi Twomey, marketing director, Tesco Ireland said of the special collaboration:

“We’re incredibly proud to partner with the Women’s Museum of Ireland for this celebration of International Women’s Day. We’re inspired everyday by the women across the country who work and shop in our stores and hope to inspire the next generation by telling the somewhat unknown stories of inspirational women of Irish history.”

The six inspirational Irish women comprise of:

1) Oonagh Keogh: The first female member of any stock exchange in the world, aged 22. Katushka Giltsoff, Oonagh’s granddaughter said:

“My Granny was a tremendous role model for me and I always knew who she was and what she had achieved. Her Irish heritage was who she was. You never visited her without lipstick on or wore trousers; she was so chic. I always wanted to be her; elegant, poised, determined, forthright and one of a kind.”

Described by her daughter-in-law, Una Giltsoff, Geneva, who was married to Oonah’s son Bayan, who represented his mother at the International Stock Exchange on International Women’s Day previously:

“She was an understated, modest lady who had seen a lot in life and been through a great deal. She never complained and was way ahead of her time. She used to say that “life takes you at your own valuation”. That is so true. At the time I did not probably understand or appreciate it but I most definitely do now. I feel it is such a shame that her career in the Stock market ceased when it did because I believe she would have had a totally different life.”

2) Katy McNulty: A pioneering female mathematician who played a vital part of computer programme for missile trajectory during World War II and worked on the UNIVAC I – the first commercial computer ever produced in the United States. Described by her daughter, Gini Mauchly, Philadelphia, USA:

“It wasn’t until 1997 – 51 years after the ENIAC (one of the first electronic general-purpose computer) was developed, did anyone pay attention to their contributions.  She wasn’t bothered by this, and was rather surprised when a researcher of computer history learned that the first programmers were women, and brought their story to light. She frequently said to us, “There’s always room for the best.”  So we were all encouraged to study what we were interested in, do what made us happy, and aim for the career we most wanted; but we were expected to do our best and be the best at whatever we chose. Someone once asked her about “thinking outside the box,” and her response was “what box are they talking about?”

3) Carmel Snow: Ms Snow was the biggest name in American fashion for over 20 years. She was a fashion editor for Vogue magazine, before switching allegiances to become Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar with a goal to create a magazine for “well-dressed women with well-dressed minds”.In describing her grandmother, Carmel Fromson said:

“My grandmother had a great sense of fun, invited a group of children over for lunch one day. We played a game of sardines. My grandmother was ‘it’ and hid in the shower. The rules of the game are when you find the person who is ‘it’ you join them in whatever location they have been hiding until everyone playing has found it. Gradually we all piled into the shower with her, and someone decided to turn on the water leaving CS’s hair and Balenciaga suit dripping! Expecting an outburst of anger, we were all delighted when she just burst out laughing.”

4) Lizzie Le Blond: Ms Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed, also known as Lizzie Le Blond, grew up in Greystones in the mid-1800s. She came from a privileged family but always yearned for more. During her life, she became a mountaineering pioneer at a time when it was almost unheard of for women to climb mountains. Commenting, Tesco colleague, Triona Scully said:

“Lizzie inspires me as I enjoy hillwalking myself. I admire her for not letting her gender stop her from living the life that she wanted, conquering peaks that no one, man or woman, had ever climbed before.”

5) Grace O’Malley: Ms O’Malley, born circa 1530 to a Lord father with land in Connacht and upon his death, she inherited his title and wealth – even though she had an older brother. She was a fearless leader on land and sea, commanding three galleys, 20 ships and over 200 men, and was a thorn in the side of Tudor conquests into Ireland. Describing her inspiration, Tesco colleague, Jyoti Bhati, said:

“Grace O’Malley’s story is the oldest featured in our campaign, which makes her life only all the more remarkable. She didn’t just lead a family or a business, she led a part of the country and an army, as well as all the rest. She was ferocious and is an example to us all.”

6) Constance Markiewicz: Born in London in 1868, Ms Markiewicz’s family owned a large estate in north Sligo. She worked tirelessly for the rights of women, but the leading cause in her life was Irish independence, going on to become a politician and was one of the first women in the world to hold a government cabinet position.

We will definitely be paying a visit to our local Tesco to check out this incredible project!