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- PublicationGender perspective on the economic crisis: Ireland in an EU context(University of Michigan, 2014-12)This article asks to what extent there are common gender dimensions to the austerity policies that have been pursued in Ireland, and across the EU, throughout the economic crisis years. While focusing on the Irish experience in particular, a comparative perspective is used, drawing on analyses of core policies at EU level and exploring the gender patterns evident in the way in which economic and social policies have been developed and implemented. Evidence is presented of the disproportionate impact in Ireland of cuts in public expenditure on low-income households, lone parents, and unemployed households, and the way in which resources to care services have been de-prioritized. A detailed analysis of the gendered impact of the crisis in Ireland is seen to reinforce patterns that have been identified at global and EU levels. Consequences of decisions and choices made and their implications for gender equality and social inequality are examined, particularly the dismantling of equality legislative and policy infrastructure. Despite some important redistributive effects of social protection policies, new inequalities are revealed in inter-generational impacts of the crisis, which have received little attention, and are reflected in housing costs, negative labour market flexibility, a two-tier public sector, and emigration. The re-establishment of employment growth and other definite signs of recovery are unlikely to reverse the deepened inequalities that have marked this crisis, unless policies are radically changed.
- PublicationComplex Contexts: Women's Community Education in IrelandEducation is not a neutral process, it can be used to establish and maintain conformity or be part of a process of liberation and social change (Freire, 1979; hooks, 1994). The Irish State’s failure to acknowledge this lack of neutrality has characterised the formal education system in Ireland since its inception. From the introduction of the National School System of education in 1831 to the present day, the ruling force of the Catholic Church within education is evidenced in the gendered and conformist nature of this formal education landscape. Systems of privilege have been maintained and reproduced through education, in which power is exercised by means of exclusion, coercion and control. However, simultaneously individuals and groups of women have challenged this formal, religiously infused conformist education system. Their demands for full and equal access to mainstream education at all levels, including within the academy, served to challenge this hegemonic force. They also pioneered the development of innovative and radical forms of adult and community education as a means toward individual and community empowerment. This paper seeks to highlight women’s educational interventions historically and socially through an explicit gendered lens and with a particular focus on community-higher-education.