Wednesday 17 January 2018

The next election will be a game-changer for women

Female TDs and Senators
Female TDs and Senators
Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

It was probably inevitable that it would end up in the courts. For the last year, there has been skin and hair flying at constituency level over the selection of candidates to be on the party ticket at the forthcoming election.

Skirmishes and skulduggery are par for the course at selection conventions. But this time a new ingredient has been added to the mix. For the first time the 'wimmin' are getting a leg-up by way of the 2012 gender quota legislation. To put it simply, parties are now required by law to ensure that 30pc of party candidates are women. If they fail to comply with this quota, they face a cut of 50pc to their state funding. The fear of losing out on funding has propelled parties to include women as candidates in the forthcoming election.

Some people aren't happy. Like it or not, more women means fewer men. And in some cases, male candidates who feel entitled and have sufficient support at conventions to be selected have had to be overlooked to make way for women in order to enable the party to comply with the gender quota. It may be unfair in individual cases, but it is the law and it is there for good reason.

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