Political parties encouraged to invite more women to fill vacant council seats

women - credit irish times

Credit: Irish Times

The Women for Election organisation has called on political parties to see the co-opting of seats as an opportunity to increase the amount of women in their party.

“As we examine the results of GE16 it is evident that the results present the parties with a unique opportunity to increase the women in their ranks,” said Suzanne Collins, Director of Campaigns for Women for Election.

The amount of women in the 32nd Dail stands at 22%, an increase on the 31st Dail’s 16%.

This election marked the introduction of the gender quota, which saw a political party’s state funding being potentially cut by 50% unless 30% of its candidates are women. This percentage will be raised to 40% by 2023.

Women in Irish politics hit an all-time low in 2011 when 15% of the Dail was made up of women, leading to the proposal of a gender quota in an Electoral Amendment Bill.

“It took 19 years for the percentage of women in the Dáil to increase from 12% to 15%. This election saw an increase to 22%, in spite of political trends which saw several women lose their seat. 163 female candidates ran for election, compared to just 86 female candidates who ran in 2011.

”This is hugely significant,” Louise Glennon of the National Women’s Council of Ireland to the Irish Examiner.

The Women for Election organisation released their Report Card on the General Election 2016, which showed that 85% of the female representation in the Dail came from the four biggest parties, Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.

Sarah Magliocco

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