Ep 497 Politics, feminism and the pandemic - with former minister Gemma Hussey


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In 1982, Gemma Hussey became Ireland’s first female minister for education. She was appointed by Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald after winning a seat for Fine Gael in Wicklow. Her appointment caused a bit of a culture shock among several of her male fellow ministers and for five years she was the only woman in cabinet. A lifetime liberal feminist, Hussey was co-founder of the Women’s Political Association and after she retired from politics in 1989, she wrote a book based on her cabinet diaries, At the Cutting Edge. It was hailed as the most thorough and realistic account of life inside cabinet in Ireland and caused quite a stir. In today’s podcast, Hussey looks back at her political career with Kathy Sheridan, recalling what it was like to be the only woman in cabinet, some of the shocking sexism she had to deal with - including Charlie Haughey snapping her bra strap - and the ferocity of the 1983 campaign on the Eighth Amendment. They also discuss the pandemic, the loss of her husband Derry just days before Christmas, women in politics today, and lots more.


The Irish Times Women's Podcast

The Women's Podcast, hosted by Kathy Sheridan & Róisín Ingle. By women, for everyone.

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