Saturday 2 August 2014

Obama aide teaches Irish women how to get elected

Niall O'Connor

Published 24/04/2014|02:30

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Jen O’Malley Dillon (centre), a key strategist on President Obama’s team, with Women For Election founders Niamh Gallagher (left), Michelle O’Donnell Keating and local election candidates who attended the workshop, at the European Parliament Offices in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke

A key strategist in the Barack Obama election team has urged women running in the local elections to show confidence and spend time meeting people face-to-face.

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Jen O'Malley Dillon also called on Irish authorities to make it easier for women to enter politics.

She said many women were still reluctant to get involved, and that extra support was required to assist those keen on getting involved in their communities.

Ms O'Malley Dillon, who served as President Obama's deputy campaign director, encouraged female candidates in the upcoming local elections to strike a balance between knocking on doors and using social media.

"My message is you don't have to be the Obama campaign to get out there and be part of the process," she said.

"It's about meeting people, connecting with people and talking to them about the issues they care about. So, anyone can do that – and we need more women to do it."

The political consultant said that issues surrounding a lack of women were present in many developed countries, including Ireland and the US.

She insisted that the authorities needed to "create the environment where they feel there is opportunity for women in the process".

"We can help make it easier as women go through their journey to either run for office or just campaign or get involved in their local community," she told the Irish Independent.

Ms O'Malley Dillon was speaking at an event held by 'Women for Election' – a non-partisan organisation which aims to assist women in their bid to enter politics.

The event was attended by more than 20 candidates running in the upcoming local elections.

Asked about the use of social media, Ms O'Malley Dillon said: "Nothing is more important than meeting people face to face. That's the most important thing.

"But I think you can amplify that by representing the work that you're doing on social media," she added.

Irish Independent

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