Dublin City Council, can you handle this? I throw down the gauntlet: IWD 2013 walking tour for women by women.

It’s International Women’s Day so congratulations to Dublin City Council for organising a walking tour celebrating women and for all the tax-payers for footing the bill. It’s money well spent.

A grand group turned up at Stephen’s Green – the vast majority women. We were greeted by a genial and cheery, Pat Liddy, a man popular in Dublin for his walking tours of the city.

His opening remarks inviting his audience to approach: “Come in tight. Tighter,” were a bit of a surprise and not those,I suspect, he would use when addressing a group of men. But, sure, what’s the harm. He meant well. (They always do.)

The speaker had boned up specially for this talk so perhaps the good side was that he learned a little more about his fellow citizens than he had previously known. Trouble was, it was all new to him so he had constantly to refer to his copious notes. Still, for a first shot, it was quite good. No mention of James Barry,however,when the talk focussed on women and medicine though the fact that we were actually outside the Royal College of Surgeons offered an opportunity to look at other pioneering women in medicine one of whom, apparently, was a girl.

Now, I know that in Ireland girl is a favourite euphemism for women but on IWD and by  a man, on a tour sponsored by Dublin City Council? Called to book, the speaker gallantly acknowledged the incorrectness of his remark, explaining that the person “was a girl when she came to study.”

It made me smile remembering that, way back in the previous century, I saw a sign in a shop window which read: “Mature girl seeks work.”  Things have changed since then, haven’t they? No? Ah well, anyway.

Later, our walk leader confided to his audience: “You’re all girls to me.”Sweet.

Thing is, has Dublin City Council provided any gender awareness courses for its employees, I wonder.The speaker shared with us the nugget of information that he’s 64 but, you know, it’s never too late. I was in to my third grandchild before I took up the sax.

So how about, for IWD 2013, DCC finds a female guide to lead the walk for women about women?  It won’t hurt – it’s only for the one day. After that, it’s back to the delicious Pat that Dubliners know and love so well, clad seductively in black and with a divine, wide-brimmed hat, doing what he does best: telling people about Dublin.

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