When we all came back after the holidays we outlined which projects we would like to be involved in this year. Kicking off the year in an enjoyable but informative way we promoted the nation-wide Blue September ‘Keepy Uppy Challenge’ to raise awareness of men’s cancer. We then decided to help promote the use of Irish language by taking part in Gaeilge 24. This involved a 24hrs sponsored speak Gaeilge only. Another one of our aims for the year was to find an international project to collaborate with the Loreto Convent Student Council and to raise the profile of our student council in the Letterkenny area. This, lead us to the #HeforShe campaign launched by Emma Watson. Gender inequality is a very important issue for our student council to quote Emma Watson “if we do nothing it will take 75 years……..before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls will be able to receive a secondary education.”
The campaign will then go on until the end of the school year. Both councils are planning to hold a gender inequality awareness week starting on 16th January with a series of activities including a joint schools debate and guest speakers. Later on in the year we hope to hold joint hockey match with other plans to be decided. These activities will be used to inform students about gender inequality and which students from both schools will be able to participate.
Ayrton Kelly secretary of Saint Eunan’s student council had this to say; “I'm really proud to be a member of the Student Council here in Saint Eunan's College. We've done an absolutely huge amount this year and over the past couple of years for our peers - most recently Gaeilge 24 and the Blue September campaign, as well as a non-uniform day which has raised funds that will soon be spent on what students want and need. #HeForShe is something different however, it's not something that the boys would ask for, nor is it something that they think they need. But it is. To quote Emma Watson, a UN Ambassador and supporter of HeForShe: "[there are] young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49 years of age; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either... Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals."
And that is why we are getting involved with and supporting #HeForShe. Just as our peers in the Loreto Convent agree, we men need to stop being victims of Gender Inequality, and we want to be part of something that we feel will change that.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our principal Mr. Chris Darby and the school communities of Saint Eunan’s College and the Loreto Convent for their continued support.
We would also like to thank the Donegal County Council sincerely for sponsoring the cost of renting the signs.