The 18th edition of the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards is a celebration of remarkable Irish women has become a much-awaited event every year, but this year, in 2018, the WOTYA take on a particularly important dimension.

More than ever it seems, Irish women have taken center stage and action across all disciplines and made a mark on the history of the nation.

2018 was first of all an important anniversary: that of the Representation of the People’s Act which in 1918, gave the right to women over 30 to vote in the UK and in Ireland. In February, Dr. Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington symbolically re-enacted the gesture of one of the most famous Irish Suffragettes, her grandmother Hannah, by throwing a stone at the windows of Dublin Castle. From books to badges, the green, purple and white shades of the suffragettes’ flag re-emerged in celebration of and tribute to the Irish women who fought for the right to vote a centenary ago.

The spirit of those predecessors – and the use of clothes as a political symbol and tool – was vibrant during the Repeal the 8th Campaign. Women and Men took to the streets under the banners of the Repeal Campaign. The dedication of the thousands of volunteers across the country who campaigned and canvassed relentlessly for women’s bodily autonomy finally bore its fruit: six years after the death of Savita Halappanavar and 35 years after its enshrinement within the constitution, the 8th Amendment was officially removed in September.

The complex relationship between Ireland, its legal system, its faith and women’s bodies stood out in an even sharper way as the Cervical Check Scandal – turning upside down the lives of many women who are now bravely using their voices to save that of others – emerged and as numerous testimonies of sexual assault were shared in the light of Belfast Trials, Cork University revelations and in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's Supreme Court testimony under the “I believe her” banner.

Read more: "Why I believe Christine Blasey Ford," American woman shares her experience of sexual assault in Ireland

The persistence of Irish women in those of history-breaking, heart-shattering moments has been nothing short but moving, empowering and galvanizing. While challenging, 2018 has also been a year with many moments worth celebrating with pure, uncompromised joy: the achievement of the “green army”, the Irish Hockey Team as silver medallists at last summer’s World Cup is one of such.

A small but significant token of our admiration, pride and recognition, we cannot wait to pay tribute to and raise our glasses to all the Irish women who spoke up, stood up for rights, represented us and made strides in all ways of business.

The Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards will be, this year again, supporting Women's Aid, with a €10 donation made to the charity with every ticket purchased. 

* This article was originally published on our sister publication Irish Tatler.