Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality

Recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality: Discussion (Resumed)

Photo of Sorca ClarkeSorca Clarke (Longford-Westmeath, Sinn Fein)
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I will be very brief. To follow on the Minister's statement about the inspectors and their work being extended to include bullying, how many inspectors are there? Will the Minister's Department extend the inspectors' remit to also look at the facilities that are currently in place in schools to ensure that this systemic gender equality in accessing courses, particularly for younger women around woodwork, metalwork or whatever it may be is addressed so that there is parity of availability of these courses in our secondary schools? Is that something that she will consider the inspectorate could do? While there are many barriers to gender equality, some of them are very blatant and very much in our face, but there are others that are historic. Due to the fact that they are almost systemic at this stage, we have grown up in an environment that has resulted in us being blind to them, and one of them is physical availability. The Minister spoke of the schools putting themselves forward in relation to that computer science course in response to my question about the all-girls DEIS schools. However, that would lead me to think that there are many schools out there that simply could not put themselves forward because they do not have the facilities to be able to undertake that course.