An initiative of the National Women’s Council of Ireland

The Why Factor

Why the Y Factor?

Young people can feel just as strongly about gender inequality as anyone else but their voices are often not listened to.  The Y Factor project was set up on the basis that gender inequality affects people at all stages in their lives and at all levels – from family life to global relations.  National Women’s Council recognises that young people do have a voice, they do have something to say and that their experiences and views as women and men need to be heard.  Young people are the leaders in building our future society – The Y Factor has been set up to empower and support them to have their voices heard in the continuing movement for equality.

In spite of much progress in women’s equality over the last century, there are still many areas in life where women do not get the same opportunities or positive life experiences, such as:

  • The Irish Government, which makes some of the most important decisions and plans that affect the lives of people who live in this state is 83% male
  • Media and marketing in mainstream television, newspapers and magazines focus mostly on women in relation to their image or ‘sexiness’ ignoring other more important qualities and skills– this has a huge effect on how boys and girls and women and men understand themselves and each other and ‘believe the hype’.
  • Women are far more likely to face difficult choices when it comes to work-life balance and men are not provided the support to be able to choose to play a stronger role in caring and family life. This tends to put the weight of care on women and denies men that opportunity.
  • Women still get paid less than men – much of this is accounted for by women working part-time hours but often it is the case that they get paid less than their male counterparts for the same hours and same work.
  • Women are still at massively higher risk of experiencing gender-based violence and there are increasing levels of sexual assault on women.
  • The sex industry is one which disproportionately exploits women and children (especially those who experience poverty) for the benefit of men. In the modern globalized world this has led to the trafficking of women and children on an unprecedented scale.

Inequality between women and men can be so deeply rooted in every part of our society that we sometimes can’t even see it for what it is.  But many young people can see it and they are fed up with having to settle for a society that is not fully equal. They experience the injustices; they reject sexism and they want to keep trying to make it better.  For everyone. They see the possibilities for women and men to recognise, respect and live together as equals.