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Posts Tagged ‘gender politics’

Deirdre McCloskey: "It’s Good to be a Don if You’re Going to Be a Deirdre: Gender Crossing in Academia"

It’s Rainbow Week in Trinity. This year there has been a particular focus from the LGBT Society on issues affecting trans* people and the debate in the Hist is on the motion, “THB the Interests of the Transgender Community are Best Served Under the LGBT Banner”. Because of their very small numbers, the social and legal obstacles they face do not get much focus.

This brought to mind on of the those whose work I’ve read in the past year for my thesis. Deirdre McCloskey is Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at University of Illinois at Chicago and Professor of Economic History,Gothenburg University, Sweden, and has started a six-volume work on the history of bourgeois thought.

In this talk to the Oxford Libertarian Society, she talks here of how she knew at 11 that she wanted to be a girl, but didn’t transition until age 53. Talking of the social difficulties, she says it was was much easier in her particular profession than it would be in wider society, but also of how the world is becoming more open in these matter. As she says early on in this piece, “It’s a matter of a free choice in a free society; there’s nothing else involved”.

Deirdre McCloskey – "It’s Good to be a Don if You’re Going to Be a Deirdre: Gender Crossing in Academia" from oxford libertarian on Vimeo.

She really is fascinating to read or listen to, whether discussing economics, history of intellectual thought, or gender in today’s society.

On the subject, I also came across this manual of style this morning, a useful guide to understanding trans* people better.

Women in the cabinet, in the 31st Dáil and election candidate ratio

There are fewer women now in cabinet than there has been since 2004. Of course, when it’s a matter of either two or three out of fifteen, it’s a big proportionate difference. With Joan Burton as Minister for Social Protection and Frances Fitzgerald as Minister for Children, there is the unfortunate impression that they got soft female-friendly positions. There had been widespread assumption that Joan Burton, having been Labour Spokesperson on Finance, could expect the position of Public Expenditure and Reform, which went to Brendan Howlin. That decision rests with Eamon Gilmore, as the leaders of parties within a coalition is usually given free rein as to the distribution of personnel within the departments they have received.

At cabinet level, parties should of course focus on picking their best TDs for the job, regardless of other factors. They also seemed to ignore geography as a major factor, with a high concentration from both parties of Dublin TDs in cabinet. But this is not to say that some others of women mentioned like Róisín Shortall or Jan O’Sullivan wouldn’t be as good as one Labour’s former leaders.

Of course, we should recognise the first female Attorney General in Máire Whelan.

The proportion of women in the 31st Dáil is up marginally on the last Dáil. There has been only marginal change in the proportion of female representation in Ireland, and in any analysis it is our position relative to the rest of the world, not an absolute proportion that is worth considering.

There are 25 women in the current Dáil, including 11 of Fine Gael’s 76 TDs, 8 of Labour’s 37 TDs, 2 of Sinn Féin’s 14 TDs, 2 of the 5 United Left Alliance TDs and 2 of the 14 Independent TDs. Significantly, no women were elected for Fianna Fáil.

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