Monday 24 July 2017

Alison O’Connor: Women must toughen up for Dail quota fight

If more women want to enter Irish politics they are going to have to toughen up and put themselves forward. That's hard to digest -- and harder than blaming men for everything -- but it is also true. These conclusions were just some of those heard at the excellent conference on how to elect more women, organised by junior minister Kathleen Lynch.

We were reminded that at present in Ireland we have a female chief justice, a female attorney general, a female ombudsman, a female director of public prosecutions and a female head of the revenue commissioners. Women are everywhere in Irish life (leaving aside boardrooms), except in the Dail.

Some of the facts and figures thrown out throughout the day -- there is one female for every six male TDs; out of a total of 4,452 Dail seats filled between 1918 and 2009 only 219 have been filled by women; since 1922 there are three counties which have never had a woman elected -- Cavan, Louth and Laois, and in Carlow, Clare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo and Wexford one woman deputy each was elected in all of those years.

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