‘I was the first woman who had a senior cabinet position to come up through the women’s movement. I began in women’s politics.
‘Women Power in the Dáil’, Interview with Anne Harris. Image, May 1984.
Against the backdrop of strikes in 1985 following the ‘teachers united campaign’ during her time as Minister of Education, Gemma Hussey established Vocational Training Programme in response to the high levels of youth unemployment. This grew into the PLC programme, which by its 30th anniversary head in excess of 750,000 students.
The National Parent’s Council was established in 1985, in order for greater participation in education decision making by parents.
During her time in the Department of Education established the Curriculum and Examination Board (CEB) to review the Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate. It was a radical reform such as teacher reviewing their own pupils but the recommendations were not implemented.
She was worked to combat sexism and sex stereotyping in schoolbooks. She started an initiative to examine the position of women in higher education.