Women make up 52% of Ireland’s population, but they currently make up only 15% of our elected representatives. Increasing the number of women in politics is a long-standing challenge in Ireland, as the Dáil has never been less than 85% male. Compared internationally, Ireland performs poorly, lying 20th out of the 27 EU member states for female political representation.
These figures show that Ireland is failing to use its most vital resource: its people. The key barriers to women getting involved and succeeding in politics are identified as the five C’s: Culture, Cash, Confidence, Childcare and Candidate Selection.
Women For Election
Determined to tackle the barriers to women participating in our political system, Niamh Gallagher and Michelle O’Donnell Keating set up Women for Election, a non‐partisan organisation whose vision is of an Ireland with balanced participation of women and men in political life. Women for Election offers a tailored programme of support to inspire, equip and inform women to run for political office.
It will develop and nurture a cross party network of political women committed to equal representation of women and men, and undertake innovative campaigns focused on increasing the number of women at all levels in Irish politics.
An Update from Niamh and Michelle
Women for Election INSPIRE Programme is well underway and to date we have brought through 350 women from all across Ireland on this programme, inspiring them to consider the next step on their political journey and opening up the box of possibilities about what role they can play.
Women for Election are also working with a number of women’s networks and Universities about understanding the connectivity between the community and their local political structures through our INFORM Programme.
EQUIP, Ireland’s first political campaign school was launched on April 29th in Athlone and Women for Election brought together 20 women from across all parties and none to work intensively over 3 days with top experts from Ireland, UK and Australia. These women have now committed to running in the next Local and European Elections and Women for Election are ensuring they are equipped with the tools and techniques that they will need to be the best candidates they can be.
To find out more go to www.womenforelection.ie