MINISTER for the Environment Phil Hogan has claimed that women and men who oppose gender quotas are part of "a conservative culture". As a woman who opposes gender quotas, I think it is unfair of the minister to pigeonhole those who disagree with him on this issue.
He should respect the fact that those women and men who oppose gender quotas do want to see more women running for election.
The reason I oppose gender quotas is because I am against the idea of bringing more women into politics through a law that discriminates against candidates on the grounds of their gender. Such a law would be bad for the cause of women and men. It would be divisive, discriminatory and undemocratic.
It is true that I do want to conserve something -- namely, the principle that anyone can contest an election irrespective of their gender and that voters can make up their own minds who to vote for irrespective of gender.
In contrast, the minister intends to bring in a law whereby a citizen could be prevented from running in a general election solely on the grounds of their gender.
Joanna Tuffy TD
DAil Eireann, Dublin 2