Taoiseach intends to appoint more women to cabinet if re-elected, and says he is aiming for '50/50 split'
Taoiseach Enda Kenny intends to have equal numbers of men and women in his next cabinet if he retains power.
Political leaders are being urged to ensure half of the next ministerial team is female and make several other gender balance commitments before the election.
"I would like to think that we could have an even split at cabinet level, 50/50 men and women, and I've said that before," Mr Kenny said. "About 40pc of appointments to different boards now are female, which is great, and I have said on many occasions that would be an intention of mine."
Out of the 15 ministers in the Cabinet only four are women - Joan Burton, Frances Fitzgerald, Jan O'Sullivan and Heather Humphreys. At the next election political parties will be obliged to nominate women as 30pc of their candidates. Parties who fail to meet this target will face severe financial penalties, in terms of cuts to State funding. Labour Party leader Joan Burton said she hoped to be in a position to back up Mr Kenny's proposal for a 50/50 gender split in the next cabinet.