IWD 2021: Holly Cairns

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge. In our last article we looked at some inspirational women in herstory, who fought and overcame many challenges to achieve their goals. In doing so, not only did they make the world a better place, but they encouraged and supported the women who followed. They have inspired women to recognise their own strength and courage as a woman and to strive for their own dreams.

In the next few articles, we look at some exceptional women, who today are challenging many obstacles in their career.

Holly Cairns

Holly is a West Cork Social Democrats TD. She is a spokesperson for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Rural and Community development, Disability matters, Women’s rights and voices.
Holly is also a farmer and scientist, combining these passions in her studies of Organic Horticulture. Holly runs a company Brown Envelope Seeds, with her mother, Madeline McKeever.


What women are influential in your life?

My mum is my biggest influence and a massive inspiration for me. She is a farmer and a botanist and runs her own seed company, Brown Envelope Seeds.

I’m also inspired by the work of Marie Mullholland of West Cork Women Against Violence and all the other women working with people who’ve been affected by domestic violence.  I’ve been raising issues about the lack of support services for domestic violence with the Government ever since I entered the Dáil last year and Marie has been a great source of help and information.

 There is an imbalance of gender in politics and it’s vital that we have more women like you advocating for change. What advice would you give to any women thinking about entering politics?

I would say that if you don’t feel represented by your current representatives, chances are there are a lot of other people who feel the same way and would love the opportunity to vote for someone like you. I’d advise joining a political party like the Social Democrats because a) they are wonderful and b)elections are hard work and they are a brilliant help and support.  

What is your International Women’s Day message that you’d like to share?

My message this International Women’s Day (and every day to be honest) is that we need #MoreMná. We need more women at the decision-making tables. Better representation will lead to better decision-making.