Come on, ladies – it's party time
Carol Hunt joined the Women for Election group for a debate about the dearth of women in politics
'Parochial and macho" is how Lucinda Creighton described the current state of Irish politics last week in an interview with Sean O'Rourke. She said that when she was first elected, she "looked around the Dail and saw that it was not fit for purpose".
Most of us don't need to become TDs to cop that. All we have to do is watch a few episodes of Oireachtas Report to understand that Leinster House is indeed a macho, parochial, boys' club. And when one considers that the entire country is effectively being controlled by a four-man cabal – none of whom has any experience of life beyond the public sector – perhaps "dictatorial and elitist" should be added to that description.
Would it be different if a woman was in charge? Not necessarily. Margaret Thatcher is usually the example thrown at feminists when we argue that things would be better if a female hand was at the helm. And certainly Thatcher played the boys' game better than the boys themselves – at least until they all got together and ganged up on her. But even had she been Gloria Steinem mixed with Germaine Greer – which she most certainly wasn't – Thatcher would have found it difficult to change the macho status quo of Westminster politics all by herself. Numbers are what is needed.