Trinity College Dublin Students Union (TCDSU) is to establish a gender equality working group.
The motion, which passed at council this evening, means that TCDSU is mandated to establish the working group to aid the Gender Equality Officer to “in progressing gender equality in College”. The group aims to do this “through meeting at least twice per semester (with open membership for ordinary members of the Union)”.
At these meetings they will “discuss focus areas and solutions to ongoing problems/ identify and tackle areas with scope for improvement”.
The motion highlighted the “surge in incidents of violence against women generally” and identified spiking, sexual assault anmd gender/sexuality specific hate crimes as areas of particular concern.
The motion was proposed by Gender Equality Officer Rebecca Kelly and seconded by STEM Convenor Zoe Cummins.
During Council, the motion was amended to specify the inclusion of the Officer for Students with Disabilities, the Ethnic Minorities Officer and the LGBT Rights Officer in the process.
Speaking to Trinity News before the meeting Kelly said: “The past few months the media has been absolutely exploding with content pertaining to tragic incidents of gender-based violence.”
“It’s truly terrifying and I’m eager to do as much as possible on campus to make everyone feel safe.”
She believes that it is “incredibly important to [her] that students feel included in the process of bringing about these changes, not just for the sake of “engagement” but to genuinely make everyone’s voice heard in our decisions and initiatives”.
Kelly highlighted a meeting she had with “a group of incredibly passionate individuals at the beginning of Michaelmas term who’s feedback and ideas were so invaluable to the [TCDSU] and the passion the group emanated was really amazing to see”.
“I want to include students like this as much as possible at every stage because the more opinions we foster into the ground work the more effective any measure, policy-change or campaign will be.”
Kelly also wants to “acknowledge that there are students with different experiences and backgrounds than [she has]” and notes that she would “love to create a long-term mechanism to ensure that those voices are heard by the Gender-Equality Officers in years to come to continue informing us on how else [they] can help”.
Speaking to Trinity News before Council Cummins said: “Given recent events of gender violence there is a need now more than ever for [TCDSU] to take action and address this.” Cummins believes that “a dedicated group working towards gender equality was the most obvious option to go with”.
“The Gender Equality Officer realises and recognises there’s a need for more than one voice on the matter so is setting up the working group to facilitate discussion and collate campaign ideas.”
Additional reporting by Jack Kennedy, Bella Salerno, Grace Gageby, Ellen Kenny, Connie Roughan and Caroline Higgins.