Thursday 21 February 2019

'More feminist women needed for leadership roles as we haven't achieved full equality' - Madigan

Josepha Madigan. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Josepha Madigan. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Josepha Madigan has declared herself to be a “dedicated feminist” as she called for more feminist women in leadership roles, saying that “we have not achieved full equality in this country”.

Speaking at the Fem Fest, hosted by Orla O’Connor for the National Women’s Council of Ireland, the Culture Minister said that, 100 years after the first Dáil sitting, there is a need for more feminists in power.

“I was interested in hearing what Orla O’Connor said earlier,” she said.

“That it’s not just about having more women in leadership, it’s about having more feminist women.

“I can assure you ladies, I am a dedicated feminist.”

The Dublin Rathdown minister, whose department funded the Fem Fest, highlighted the historical inequality that once faced women in Ireland, who have shared equal voting rights with men for less than 100 years.

Mrs Madigan, who is just the 19th female Minister in Irish cabinet, hailed the work of the first, Countess Markievicz, but claimed that full equality has yet to be achieved. Countess Markievicz stood for election just over 100 years ago and was the first woman elected, in 1919, with 7,835 votes or 65.9pc of the poll in the constituency of Dublin St. Patricks.

“I regret having to say, 100 years on Countess Markievicz's work remains unfinished,” Ms Madigan said.

“One  hundred years on, we have not achieved full equality in this country. At 22pc in Dáil Éireann and 32pc in Seanad Éireann, female representation in the houses of the Oireachtas is way behind what it should be.

“We must take up the mantle once worn by Countess Markievicz and so many inspiring women like her and work to ensure that our progress continues.

“It is not that women are better or worse than men, but that we do bring a different prospective, a prospective that is sorely needed not just in government but throughout our society.

“We know from experience that diversity of opinion leads to better decision making and the good news is that we are making progress.”

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