Sydney journalist Brianna Parkins recently competed in Ireland's Rose of Tralee pageant, a pageant that judges women all over the world with Irish Heritage on their personality, not their appearance.
Parkins took a step to ensure she exhibited the pageant's values of encouraging “confident, bold and articulate” women by talking about what she views as one of the biggest issues facing women in Ireland today: abortion laws.
“I think we can do better here in Ireland. I think it is time to give women a say on their own reproductive rights,” she said. “I would love to see a referendum on the Eighth coming up soon. That would be my dream.”
She referred to the 'Eight Amendment' of the Constitution of Ireland, which introduced a right to life of an unborn child, and made a constitutional ban on abortion in Ireland in 1983, and is still in effect today.
She received uproarious applause from the audience for her comments, and though Chicago contestant Maggie Rose McEldowney won, Parkins made a big impact on the crowd. The festival is not usually political, but many Irish people got in touch with her to show their support. They praised her for being unconventional in the pageant format and using her platform to address something she was passionate about.
Parkins responded to the support with a selfie showing her 'Repeal The 8th' T-Shirt.