Shortlisted for the Political Book Awards 2013 Political Book of the Year
The first woman President of Ireland, who became UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson has spent her life in pursuit of a fairer world.
Now, for the first time, she reveals what lies behind the vision, strength and determination that has helped her to achieve so much for human rights around the globe.
She describes the upbringing which gave her her strong sense of values and how she came into painful conflict with her parents - marrying against their wishes and, later, helping to legalise contraception in a deeply Catholic Ireland.
As a barrister she won landmark cases advancing the causes of women and the marginalised against the prejudices of the day. When - to the surprise of many - she became the first woman President of Ireland in 1990, she put Ireland firmly on the international stage.
Accepting the position of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 1997 was her biggest challenge and here she describes the huge political difficulties she encountered among the many triumphs.
Subsequently, based in New York, she led Realizing Rights for eight years, pioneering how to implement in practice economic and social rights: working in African countries on health, decent work, corporate responsibility and women's empowerment in peace and security.
Now heading her own Climate Justice foundation she has succeeded in finding the independence she needs to work effectively on behalf of the millions of poor around the world most affected by climate change.
Told with the same calm conviction and modest pride that has guided her life, Everybody Matters will inspire everyone who reads it with the belief that each of us can, in our own way, help to change the world for the better.
The first woman president of Ireland and a lifelong activist in human rights, Robinson fashions a stately, forthright autobiography with an emphasis on her constitutional law work and teaching. Born in 1944 to two doctors with a thriving practice in Ballina, in north County Mayo, Ireland, the only daughter in a lineup of five children, Robinson nee Mary Bourke was inculcated early on by her deeply Catholic mother with the notion that the Bourkes had aristocratic roots and were somehow more "special" than the humbler families in town, an assumption of status the author deeply rejected. Brainy, athletic, determined to do something worthwhile with her life, Robinson excelled at school, ending up studying law at Trinity College, Dublin, then at Harvard, a rare woman in her classes and determined to use the law for social change in what she saw as an unenlightened Ireland. From barrister to professor to senator (winning her first seat at age 25) she championed issues for women and families such as contraceptive use and divorce, and pushed for Ireland's inclusion into the European Union. Married to the political cartoonist (and Protestant) Nick Robinson and tapped for the presidency in 1990, Robinson changed the role of president from figurehead to booster and activist who traveled widely over her seven-year term; subsequently she served as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and as one of Nelson Mandela's Elders. She details her work at hot spots across the globe, and writes engagingly and warmly of her current foundation addressing issues of climate change and world poverty.