Simone de Beauvoir famously said men had a narrow interpretation of what counted as truth.
"Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth," she wrote in 'The Second Sex', published in 1949.
What is this selective, male, so-called truth? Politically, it's that women are neither ready nor able for power. Not all men think this but enough do.
Consider the 33rd Dáil. Women remain woefully under-represented as TDs. Which means their presence at the Cabinet table will be unrepresentative. Which means policy is left largely to men.
Granted, it's an improvement on earlier decades, but the bar is set low - for long stretches there was no woman, or just one, in Cabinet.
Why is political progress downright listless? Equality legislation and quotas have been introduced. One of the State's largest parties, Sinn Féin, has a woman leader and Mary Lou McDonald says she believes she'll be Taoiseach one day. Certainly, she's well able for the job.
Meanwhile the three parties shaping up to share power are all led by men currently. It's extraordinary that neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael has ever had a female leader in almost a century.
The Greens have an extremely talented politician in Catherine Martin, who understands consensus building and cross-party cooperation, and will tilt at her party's leadership next month.
The Social Democrats have joint leaders in Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall. But Labour doesn't even have a female TD, let alone a female leader - Joan Burton lost her seat in February, along with a number of other high-profile women.
Casting an eye over the Irish political firmament, you'd imagine women were thin on the ground in the general population. Hard to believe the latter is composed of 50.4pc women and 49.6pc men when Leinster House is so doggedly, relentlessly male.
"Our future will become/The past of other women," writes Eavan Boland. Her poem speaks of rights hard won in "a new state/Flowering from an old nation" - the right to vote and stand for election. But equality has been slow to materialise, even with quotas and equality legislation.
There are capable women in politics but critical mass is missing. And some parties are simply not women-friendly. Fianna Fáil, I'm thinking of you.
Fianna Fáil lost its able Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers but presumably she'll be back as a TD sooner or later. A new TD to watch is Norma Foley from Kerry, who has performed well on the Covid-19 Dáil committee. But Micheál Martin is vulnerable to a challenger, and whoever his Brutus is, she won't be a woman. There are too few.
Fine Gael is somewhat more welcoming to ambitious women, but a female Taoiseach in waiting? The field is not crowded. At 34, Helen McEntee is young enough to bide her time. Newbie TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill also looks promising.
For the Green Party, Hazel Chu, expected to win the election to be Dublin's new Lord Mayor on Monday, is another one to watch. Undoubtedly she'll win through to Kildare Street. Ivana Bacik for Labour would be another asset, although she does excellent work in the Seanad.
But here's the thing. Sometimes bright women in politics lose patience with the game-playing, conniving and infighting that's involved, and step down.
So here's my question. Do we really want the status quo to continue? For the Taoiseach's role to be passed from one man or another, time after time?
How democratic is a society in which women constantly are under-represented in this key decision-making forum?
That self-serving male truth Simone de Beauvoir referenced might suggest it's because of things lacking in women. They lack confidence to put themselves forward, the stamina for networking and grafting, the tough skin to withstand the slings and arrows of public scrutiny.
Nonsense, of course. Although it should be noted women are held to a different standard, their appearance scrutinised as well as their policies.
Is the political culture antipathetic to women? Not just the family unfriendly hours but the all-consuming nature of it? Is the candidate selection process problematic to negotiate - even allowing for quotas? How about voter attitudes?
Here's what we know.
When women occupy positions of influence they are more likely than not to support other women. So, women journalists will quote women in their reports, where possible. Women booksellers will recommend books by women authors. Women politicians from across the political spectrum tend to take steps that help other women.
Generally, they accept the need to cooperate. We see that happening north of the Border, where Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill and the DUP's Arlene Foster are working as a team on handling the pandemic - and building a rapport in the process.
That's good politics. Macho stand-offs are counterproductive, as every woman knows.
Quotas work, but only up to a point. Legislation in 2012 helped to boost female numbers in the Dáil from 25 out of 160 TDs in 2011 to 35 in 2016. The quota will rise from 30pc to 40pc in three years' time.
But even with quotas, only 36 women were elected this year. A gain of just one, or 22.5pc of seats. Not even a quarter of TDs are women. Sinn Féin has the biggest female representation, with 13 women elected out of 37, or 35pc. Some of these show promise, such as Louise O'Reilly, who puts in a consistently convincing performance.
Fine Gael has six female deputies, followed by Fianna Fáil with five. Four female Social Democrat TDs were elected, along with two Greens. Solidarity-People Before Profit and Independents 4 Change returned one woman each and there were four women Independents.
Those who do well in politics were often councillors or senators, learning how to compromise and horse-trade before reaching the Dáil. Politics isn't only about fighting your corner but cutting deals: concede these three things and gain those three.
So, women are in the mix. This year, a record number were nominated and every constituency had a woman on the ticket - a first in Irish electoral history. But on increasingly long ballot papers, women become crowded out.
Remember, the quota only applies to a parties, not Independents. There are always more men than women for voters to choose from.
Women also have to contend with an additional layer of voter concerns. Some fear a woman candidate might concentrate on so-called women's issues (often societal matters but pigeonholed as women's).
Alternatively, if the female candidate is unsympathetic to women's concerns, she may lose votes. It's a tightrope to convince the electorate she'll be fair to all, while persuading women it will benefit them to have a woman representative.
Hillary Clinton said "human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights" at a United Nations conference on women in Beijing. That was 25 years ago. A different world, you might think.
But Dáil Éireann still operates as a man's world. Who benefits?