Colette Fitzpatrick: A good year for women? Only if taking off clothes is empowering...
Sunday is International Women's Day. A day to celebrate our accomplishments in the struggle for equality and liberation, to reflect on where we are now and to resolve to make the world a better place for our daughters.
To equip them to achieve what we haven't.
On last year's International Women's Day most of the world hadn't heard of Boko Haram. Less than two months later the Islamic terrorist organisation broke into a school in a town in Nigeria, rounded up almost 300 girls and kidnapped them.
The girls, some as young as 10, were forced to convert to Islam and forced into marriage with a reputed 'bride price' of less than €10.
Just days before International Women's Day approaches, one of the men sentenced to death for the gang rape and murder of a woman in India said the victim was killed because she fought back.
He told the BBC: "When being raped, she shouldn't fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they'd have dropped her off after 'doing her', and only hit the boy."
Another low point for women in the past year was when Time magazine added the word 'feminist' to a list of words to be banned in 2015.
It said it took the decision because feminism is now "a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on whether this word applies to them."
So what if celebs take a position on it? Why shouldn't they? They're asked about everything else on earth.
And if nothing else, a celebrity can highlight how we can change things.
And who needs reminding that, in the main, parliamentary politics is a man's world and no matter who you are or what you achieve, as a woman, your looks often matter most.
Take Christine Lagarde (right) - I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about her without the need to comment on how well she looks. (The subtext? Her age)
Elsewhere Kim Kardashian tried to break the internet with a magazine shoot, with many subsequently arguing that taking your clothes off was 'empowering'.
But, it seems to me, all it does is break down women's bodies into parts to either disgust or thrill.
Apple reminded all working women that getting pregnant is an inconvenience and announced a 'perk' - paying for you to freeze you eggs.
Instead of lobbying against maternity laws, for better maternity pay and flexible working hours on return to the workplace, they told women: 'you need to put this baby stuff on hold to suit our corporate needs'.
Fox News host Eric Bolling quipped "Would that be considered boobs on the ground or no?' when Maj Mariam al-Mansouri, a female pilot, led airstrikes against the IS in Syria.
Eye roll. This is not just offensive, but stupid - she's a pilot and not on the ground.
Happy International Women's day.
Let's hope there's more positives to write about next year.
Gorse Hill story shows that we're back to boomtime property porn
"Gorse Hill. It's one of the finest properties in all of 'Bel Eire' sitting on c. 1.25 acres...the house is now perfection, it embodies all aspects of what an estate should be with every possible amenity, unless you're picky and require a heliport and jetty. Honestly, the O'Donnells deserve an award for this development, not eviction notices."
Those are the words of a self-professed "anonymous residential property aficionado with an insatiable appetite for Dublin's high end homes" on the Dublin's Great Estates website.
The sprawling mansion, alongside a swimming pool, sauna and tennis court is now less an estate and more a battleground - but solicitor Brian O'Donnell's repossession/trespass battle is clearly not reflective of the reality of home repossessions across the country.
The Irish Mortgage Holders Association says 25,000 families are in line for repossession. Last month, there were so many repossession cases in Donegal it took the county registrar two hours and 29 minutes just to do a 'call over' of the motions list at Letterkenny Court.
You don't see the media or the Land League at the forefront of those kind of cases. Why? Well they don't exactly feed the property pornographer in us.
Who wants to glimpse over the wall of a three-bed semi in Mullingar? Who cares about a two-up, two-down in Thurles?
It was television that really got us into property pornography back in the boom. MTV's Cribs, home renovation shows and those big American fridges had us addicted.
We were in rehab since the crash but cases involving big houses and the wealthy are getting the nation on a property high again.
Come on Cindy, it's time you spoke out
I'm disappointed that we still haven't heard from Cindy Crawford about that photo. It turns out that a picture purporting to be an unretouched photo of the supermodel that was leaked a few weeks ago, was altered.
The photographer alleges that the original pic was stolen and then photoshopped to make her stomach appear worse than it actually is. In fact, shortly after the pic hit the Internet, Cindy's husband Rande Gerber took a picture of his wife in a bikini, in which her stomach shows no signs of the wrinkles.
Come on, Cindy.
Use this as an opportunity to talk about media manipulation of images and what it's doing to our young girls.
Getting our rugby bid over the line
I really hope the IRFU is successful in its bid to host the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup. Last year's tournament set records for TV viewing figures, and some match attendances were in excess of 20,000. If we were to stage a successful tournament, surely it would certainly help when it came to bidding for the 2023 Rugby World Cup?
Former Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan is involved in the bid, as ambassador for women's rugby. I met Fiona a few months back and she told me she signed up for rugby in college and nearly didn't go back because she felt the game was too slow!
A decade later she captained an Irish side which claimed the fourth sport at the Rugby World Cup. An incredible sportsperson Fiona doesn't let fame go to her head - here's hoping she helps land the World Cup.