Monday 11 December 2017

Don't you know that it's different for girls

There's an outcry every time gender quotas are mentioned, but it's vital we take this issue seriously, writes Carol Hunt

'Time for a man", is what I keep hearing all around me whenever the subject of the Presidential election arises. And as hopefuls Brian Crowley, Fergus Finlay, Michael D Higgins and David Norris all throw their hats into the ring, I am assured that it "wouldn't be fair" if we ended up with three women in a row in the Park. Really?

In that case we should be due a female Taoiseach for the next 90-odd years -- and counting. But it never seems to work like that, does it? When the girls started to outdo the boys in the medical profession the controversial HPAT aptitude test was introduced, ensuring that young men were not "discriminated" against by introducing a new IQ test rather than rely on the Leaving Cert, which women seemed to excel in. This, seemingly, was a necessary "re-balancing of the gender quota". Yet I haven't heard any potential male medical students arguing that they in some way feel 'degraded' or 'demeaned' by this action, which greatly benefits them.

So why then do we have such an outcry when gender quotas in politics are mentioned? During a Prime Time report this week, independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan said (of women elected by a quota system): "they would be crucified at every turn about their status in a hostile, male-dominated parliamentary debate".

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