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EmPowerMe Event

“EmPowerMe” a Kerry Education and Training Board event to celebrate young women in modern Ireland and the 100 years of the Women’s vote

Held in The Rose Hotel Tralee on December 13th from 10.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m.

February 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of Irish women’s right to vote.

Kerry ETB acknowledged that this was a huge milestone in the history of Ireland and decided that this presented a great opportunity as a democratic education body to facilitate their students to commemorate and celebrate Vótáil 100. An event for fifth year female students called EmPowerMe took place in the Rose Hotel on Thursday 13th December 2018.

Anne Marie Hassett Project Leader stated, “In Kerry ETB through our school Principals Forum and our Guidance, RE and SPHE Teacher networks, we are very aware of the challenges facing young women in Irish society today. With this in mind we researched and developed a participative wellbeing programme for senior cycle which enabled students to explore issues such as; the impact of Social Media and Influencers, Body Image, Gender Inequality, Stereotyping, Relationships and Consent.”

Teachers were trained over three workshops in September and the course is now being taught in the eight Kerry ETB schools. Feedback was very positive, and students are gaining the knowledge, skills and confidence to debate what are sometimes very challenging issues relevant to their lives. Teachers have stated that they can see the impact that this is making on students.”

 

Sheila Scanlon, a teacher from Causeway Comprehensive School reported, “The workshops have been a very positive engaging experience for both the students and the teacher. It has given rise to lots of reflection and debate both inside the classroom and outside.”

Maeve O’Sullivan a student from Coláiste Gleann Lí said,

It was brilliant to do something so relevant to us. Often times the important issues can be skipped over or rushed through. It gave us so much opportunity to discuss issues in detail and voice our own opinions. I am really enjoying participating on the programme.

 

This project helps to address the need to provide a safe space for our students to discuss, without judgement the very real issues that they deal with on a daily basis.

Ann O’Dwyer Kerry ETB Director of Schools.

 

As a celebration of the success of the programme and to give the young women in Kerry ETB schools an opportunity to take time out and appreciate how far we have come, what we can achieve and the current challenges that need to be addressed, Kerry ETB hosted a Young Women’s “EmPowerMe” event in The Rose Hotel Tralee on December 13th from 10.00 until 1.00.

Sofie Ní Bhriain Gaelcholaiste Chairraí student opened the event and welcomed the panel, students and guests. The day began with Norma Moriarty Cathaoirleach of South and West Kerry Municipal District giving a presentation on the history of Irish women achieving the vote 100 years ago. This was followed by a panel discussion about the current issues facing our young women today. The topics included relationships, Consent, Social Media, Body Image, Influencers, Stereotyping of women and of course the participation of women political history in Ireland. The panel included the local female Kerry elected representatives…….Aoife Thornton Mayor of Listowel, Norma Moriarty Cathaoirleach of South and West Kerry Municipal District , Norma Foley Mayor of Kerry, Toireasa Ferris former Mayor of Kerry and Kirsty McFettridge Kerry Rape and Sexual Violence Centre together with fifth year students from the eight Kerry ETB schools.

Following the panel discussion, Colaiste Gleann Lí student Snjzana Herbsts interviewed the award-winning author of Asking for It, Louise O Neill who discussed current challenges and opportunities with our students. Snjzana is on the Kerry ETB Student Forum and is also a member of Comhairle na nÓg and Dáil na nÓg. Louise was a hugely popular choice as guest of honour, she shared very openly her own personal struggle with body image, and she gave a very strong message to the young students to have the courage to challenge others when they know they need to and the kindness to support and look after each other.

Praising the event, Louise stated,“There is a great deal of pressure on young women in Ireland today to look and behave in certain ways, and that pressure can have a deeply negative impact on our sense of self and emotional wellbeing. I see this event as a chance for us to address those issues collectively, and work out effective strategies to help young women feel more confident, self-compassionate, and at peace with their true selves. “

ENDS

For further information, please contact Marion O Toole at motoole@kerryetb.ie or 066 7121488

 

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