Article contributed by Daire McGarrigle, Politics student at Saint Eunan’s College in Letterkenny:

During the research of my project for my Leaving Cert Politics and society class I wondered how I could spread my information to reach both the youth and mature women of Ireland. I came to the conclusion that the media would be an excellent means to do so, and in relation to gender disparities of women I believe it will propel it into national discussion.

We have a serious problem on our hands that young women feel they either don’t have a chance or don’t feel welcome in politics. A further problem I discovered when interviewing my friends is that they feel as though they have no control over things that directly affect them such as reproductive health. As for my survey I found nearly the same answer in my question that Politics is not offered whatsoever as an exam subject, and upon looking further as to why the story is quite disparaging.

I carried out my survey by contacting some members of the student council in Loreto convent Letterkenny. They gave me names of people who were interested in doing the survey. A total of 16 came forward, some of which I knew were already focal about their political beliefs.

My findings 

  • Only 43.75% of the girls had any interest in going into politics.
  • A total of three quarters have said they have been stopped from pursuing an interest in politics.
  • 61.50% look up to or admire a female politician with most saying Vice President Kamala Harris and the US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • A near majority of women (93.75%) said they felt it was possible for them to have a role in politics.
  • When asked if they feel equally represented in the Dail while TDs are only 22.5% women and all said they did not feel as though they are represented.
  • When asked if anything can be done in regards to education a near majority said yes (93.75%), with a number of women saying to make it mandatory to offer politics and society in all female schools.

I truly believe that something needs to be done on the national level on this issue, it is absolutely absurd to still think women are still put down and discouraged from entering politics purely for their gender.