Ireland’s Internet Bullies


In the last two months, two young Irish women have been driven to suicide by online bullying and harassment.

Erin Gallagher, a 13-year-old girl, was found dead in her Donegal home last Saturday. This follows the suicide of 15-year-old Ciara Pugsley from Co. Leitrim.

Both young women had been harassed on the social media website, – which allows users to ask and answer anonymous questions and comments.

The public response has sparked off a debate about social media, bullying and mental health across Ireland and abroad. The calls to action have ranged from asking schools to be more proactive against online bullying to online groups trying to shut down

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Testing institutional discrimination


On June 6th, approximately 177, 000 students started the Leaving Cert,the controversial jewel of Ireland’s education system. Every year the Leaving Cert is criticized for its archaic use of rote learning and every year the academic dominance of girls suggests that the Leaving Cert is gender imbalanced.

For those applying to medical school there is the added pressure of the Health Professionals Admissions Test (HPAT),which is usually taken 4 months before the standard exams. Success in both the Leaving Cert and the HPAT is necessary for those wanting to go to medical school as an undergraduate and avoid the costly postgraduate fees. A high score in the HPAT can add 300 points to Leaving Cert results.

It was hoped that the HPAT would single out good potential doctors rather than just good academics and address the issue of gender imbalance in education.  As Professor of Academic Medicine and Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning at Trinity College Shaun McCann said, “The pendulum has swung too far in favour of females”.

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Female Genital Mutilation banned in Ireland

The Irish government shall provide “culturally appropriate” training to teachers and doctors in order to “treat and identify” cases of female genital mutilation (FGM), according to a spokesperson for Amnesty International Ireland.

The Seanad last month banned the practice of FGM in Ireland. It is also made it illegal for someone to take a girl abroad to have the procedure performed.

“This legislation needed to be brought in because of previous loopholes regarding extraterritorial jurisdiction,” said Eilís Ní Chaithnía, Campaigns Officer at Amnesty International Ireland. “There is no evidence that FGM is being carried out on Irish soil, but the risk is greatest when parents are returning to their home country with their children. Pressure is often placed on the parents there to have it done.”

FGM is not a religious practice but a cultural one. Girls are often subjected to FGM in order to make them more acceptable to society by ‘purifying’ their sexuality and raising their value as wives, rather than to purposely harm them.

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Abortion and Transgender Motions Passed at Labour Conference

Members at the Labour Party Conference in Galway this weekend passed separate motions relating to both to transgender equality and abortion legislation.

Motion 19 called on the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton to bring forward legislation that takes account of the human rights and dignity of transgender persons in accordance with the recommendations of the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe in 2007 and to widely consult those affected during the legislative process.

Mrs Burton had announced in June 2011 her intention to introduce legislation to address the acquired gender of transgender people with the publication of a report by the inter-departmental Gender Recognition Advisory Group (GRAG).  GRAG was set up to in May 2010 to advise the Government on a 2007 High Court ruling that Ireland was in breach of the European Conventions on Human Rights for failing to have a legal mechanism to recognize the changed gender of transgender individuals.

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Discrimination in all it’s dirty forms


You might think to yourself “people in Ireland don’t get discriminated against”. If you’re thinking this chances are you’re probably well-off, a man, heterosexual and white. Anyone who doesn’t fit this build has probably felt discriminated against at some point.

Women feel discrimination based on the fact that they are a woman. If a woman gets a promotion in work she is often perceived as aggressive, taking on manly characteristics, and neglecting family and home life. On top of this when she does succeed in life she is defined as a successful woman, not just as “successful” in her own right as an individual. When men are successful they are labelled as such but when women are successful there seems to be an inherent need to place woman after it. An example of this is Madonna. She is known as the Queen of pop and has broken almost every taboo that was once the gilded cage of female artists. She has the similar swagger and unapologetic egocentricity of male artists but unlike them the media often portrays her as “un-female” and” hard”. This double standard is obvious in the rather personal criticism’s of her film W.E. while the extra-curricular indulgences of her males colleagues such as Tom Ford and Kanye West are received with singular expectation.

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La bonne mamam – motherhood in France


It’s a tall order to feed, clean, cloth, entertain and instil values in another human being, and those just cover the basics. Of course fathers should and do play a role but the bulk of the job is still usually left to the mother.

The Irish constitution preaches the virtue of a woman’s place in the home with her children but the state doesn’t provide much to make that practical.

If you want as much as a semi-sane balance of a career, family and any sort of down time there are worse places to do it than in France, which has the second highest birth rate in Europe, after Ireland. While being a stay-at-home mum is entirely possible here in Ireland, many women in France choose to continue work for a whole plethora of reasons.

Here are just some of the state support systems that French mothers, both stay at-home and working, can rely on;

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Great Irish Women through History

In honour of International Women’s Day iGenders has complied a “small” list of Irish women past, present and mythical who we feel are role models for Irish women. Peruse at your pleasure and feel free to add your voice.

Queen Medb. She was Queen of Connacht, married several times, took many lovers, had many children and was generally the WOMAN! Most famously in the Táin Bó Cúailnge she led an army against Ulster and the mythical hero Cúchulainn in pursuit of the Donn Cúailnge bull. She may not have been have been a figure in real life but Queen Medb is just one among many strong Irish women in Celtic folklore. She represents the pre-colonised Ireland, where women historically had more legal rights than is available to the sex in many countries today. For example Celtic women kept their own property in marriage, a wife could divorce her husband for fourteen reasons including his slander of her or for his sexual inadequacy. Women were also legally protected in common-law and transient relationships, and no children were considered illegitimate.

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Delusions of gender

Are we all victims of biological predilection or does society have a stronger hand in moulding our gender image?

Psychologist Cordelia Fine’s book Delusions of Gender argues that when people are reminded of their gender and its stereotypes, they will live up – or down – to that image. Choices and opinions are not made in a vacuum.

Start the Discussion today. Check out Professors Fines in action

 Auveen Woods


How to do “I DO”!

Family and friends have been told the great news. The date has been set and the search for a venue begins. 

All the excitement and big visions for a glorious day where you wed the one you love becomes this great big search for the perfect everything: venue, hotel, restaurant, invitations etc. Well before the dust settles on the great plans, jump in and secure that date you have in mind; the spring wedding, anniversary or special meaningful date.

If you are planning a wedding or partnership in the Republic, be aware that weekends and especially Sundays become a problem for registrars and for Catholic Priests. Alas registrars are still fundamentally civil servants who work Monday to Fridays. As a country with a long history of church-state relationships, Sundays are usually reserved for rest. If you are planning a Sunday wedding in a religious venue, I recommend talking to your local religious minister.

If contemplating a civil ceremony you should carefully consider what kind of content you would like included; poetry, songs, vows etc. Remember, anything religious or that mentions god cannot be included. Careful scrutiny is to be taken to ensure no embarrassment to you or the registrar. If short and simple is your forte then the ceremony itself will please you. Fifteen minutes in length and the pressure is over.

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Ireland needs gender recognition legislation

In 2012 Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton needs to introduce legislation that will provide legal recognition of acquired gender for transgender individuals. 

Mrs Burton had announced this intention in June 2011 with the publication of a report by the inter-departmental Gender Recognition Advisory Group (GRAG). GRAG was set up to in May 2010 to advise the government on a 2007 High Court ruling that Ireland was in breach of the European Conventions on Human Rights for failing to have a legal mechanism to recognize the changed gender of transgender individuals.

There are a number of conditions that result in people identifying to a gender opposite that of their biological characteristics. The most common of these is Gender Identity Disorder (GID), were a person feels a discomfort with their physical gender while simultaneously holding a distinct personal identification with their opposite gender.

According to the report, treatment for GID aims to help individuals to become content with their gender identity rather than attempt to impose a “cure”. Most often the outcome of GID treatment is that the person makes a full biological transition to their preferred gender.

The most famous Irish transgender person was Dr Lydia Foy whose 14 year fight for legal recognition of her changed gender led to the 2007 High Court ruling.

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