Nora Goebelbecker '14

Author: Andrea Martinez Dominguez

Nora Goebelbecker

Graduation year: 2014

Majors/Minors: Political Science major, Gender Studies & Hesburgh Program in Public Service minors


I spent a large part of my sophomore year stumbling around various offices and websites, attempting to plan a summer research project that would fuse my Political Science major and minors in Gender Studies and the Hesburgh Program in Public Service. When I finally came to my senses and came to the faculty of the Gender Studies department, they were incredibly supportive and helpful-- and they encouraged me to apply for a Gender Studies research grant! I wrote up a proposal, and on the last day of school, I received an e-mail notifying me that I had received full funding from the Genevieve D. Willis Gender Studies Research Grant.

Thanks to the Gender Studies Department, I spent seven weeks of my summer conducting comparative research on the role gender norms play in the work experiences of Irish and Spanish politicians. I interviewed professors, politicians, and other culturally-savvy individuals about whether or not they thought that one's gender affected how effectively and enjoyably politicians could go about their daily work. I explored the continuing differences in work-family balance between men and women and the difference in marital status of women and men in politics (women are more likely to be divorced or single, which goes back different expectations from society and the politician his or herself of how much time they need to spend with children). I also had the chance to receive some fantastic life advice from some really fantastic individuals. Highlights of the summer:

  • When Ireland's former Minister of Justice picked me up in her car and bought me tea.

  • Sitting on the living room couch of the co-founder of Spain's Feminist Party.

  • When I looked from a balcony onto Ireland's Dáil (Congress) as they passed a national gender quota bill. I was invited to join members of the Dáil and prominent feminist writers of Ireland at the Dáil Bar afterward!

I hope to direct this research toward a senior thesis on the relationship between the age of a democracy and the success of its gender equality movements.