Friday 23 February 2018

O'Rourke dismisses election quotas for women candidates

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

PARENTS would get increased time off work if there were more women in cabinet, a leading researcher claimed yesterday.

And there should also be financial penalties for political parties who do not meet set quotas of women candidates.

But the claims from Fiona Buckley from the Department of Government in University College Cork were dismissed last night by former Health Minister Mary O'Rourke, who said she opposed the idea of quotas for women candidates.

Mrs O'Rourke said there already was a policy on maternity leave and said the idea of women quotas was opposed by the majority of sitting women TDs. "There should be more women TDs but not through a quota system," she added.

"The five Cs of childcare, cash, confidence, culture and candidate selection have been identified as key explanations for the exclusion of women from Irish politics," said Ms Buckley, who is organising a conference on women in Irish politics next month. Ms Buckley said there would be a greater focus on policies like childcare and maternity and paternity leave if there were more women in cabinet.


"It would mean more women-friendly policies like extra time off, more days," Ms Buckley said. She added that the experience across Europe showed more women in politics led to such changes and said political parties should be docked money if they do not field enough women candidates.

But a recent survey found that most women TDs did not want political parties to be required to adopt gender quotas in their candidate selection process. Of all 23 women TDs, 14 were against and eight were for a proposal that candidate quota legislation be introduced to try to bring more women into politics. One was undecided. The 23 women in the Dail account for just under 14pc of all TDs.

The figures for the Seanad are only slightly better, with 12 women accounting for a fifth of all senators.

Irish Independent

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