Political careers for female DCU students?

With gender quotas being introduced, The College View spoke to female members of the political societies in DCU about the prospect of a career in politics.

Claire Nugent is studying a postgrad in Accounting, having graduated with a degree in Economics, Politics and Law last year. She first became involved with Ógra Fianna Fáil at DCU four years ago after a friend brought her along to one of their meetings.

“I stayed and became fully involved with the Cumann due to the warm welcome I received”, she said. “I don’t believe the structure of the organisation or the people within it have any gender biases”.

The newly-elected national Chairperson of Ógra is a female, Kate Feeney. While Nugent would not be interested in running for election herself, she would consider a life in politics behind-the-scenes. “I believe it all comes down to confidence”, she said.

She thinks gender quotas are just an “easy and convenient way to increase the number of women in government. They don’t even attempt to address the underlying problems that clearly exist to discourage women from entering political life in the first place”.

Deirdre Ryan had been a member of her local branch of Young Fine Gael (YFG) at home in Tipperary so it made sense for her to join the DCU branch when she came to college.

The first year Law and Society student doesn’t feel her gender has had any effect on her involvement with YFG. “Everyone in the society is given equal opportunity to participate and get involved”, she said.

While there are more male than female members of the youth party, she explained how members of both gender have held significant positions both within DCU and nationally.

Like Nugent, she too would be interested in a career in the political arena but would not run for election. She doesn’t like the way in which politicians lives are constantly scrutinised and feels it could be difficult to juggle political and family commitments.

Sarah Bermingham

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