On Wednesday, 14th June 2017, two members of Men’s Voices Ireland met with Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin, Chair of the Oireachtas Education Committee, Equality Spokesperson for Fianna Fail, and TD for Kildare South. Our meeting focused on the issues laid out in our discussion document, The Boy Crisis in Education.
Over and above issues to do with boys’ education, the Deputy O’Loughlin agreed that, to date, scant attention has been given generally to the many issues affecting men and boys. She particularly mentioned male victims of domestic abuse.
Among the matters Men’s Voices Ireland discussed with Deputy O’Loughlin were:
- The ever-widening gap (not just in Ireland, but worldwide) between the numbers of boys and girls entering third-level education. (53% of women aged 25-34 have a third-level qualification. Of men between these ages, only 39% have a third level education: a 14% difference.)
- The lack of male role models for boys among their teachers. (At primary level 85% of teachers are female. At secondary level the percentage of male teachers has fallen steadily from 40% in 2003 to 31.7% in 2012.)
- Boys dropping out of education. (In 2010, The dropout rate for girls at second level was 8.4%: for boys, it was 12.6%: a 50% higher rate.)
On the back of our meeting, she will recommend to her Committee that space is found on its agenda to review the issues we discussed, and that, ideally, representatives of Men’s Voices Ireland should be invited to outline their concerns in a public hearing before committee members.
Men’s Voices Ireland are calling for a government investigation, and at the highest level, to identify what are the root causes of this ever-worsening crisis: and to initiate a programme of action to address these causes.
You can see a copy of the submission here in PDF format.