A new campaign called #MoreWomen, launched by non-profit organisation Women for Election, is calling for women to run for election, and for parties to support them in 2019.
Last night saw a crowd gather in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin to listen to a panel discussion about 2019 becoming a landmark year for women in politics in Ireland. The discussion, organised by Women for Election, was chaired by Journalist and broadcaster Alison O'Connor and featured Lisa Chambers TD (Fianna Fáil), Eamon Ryan TD (Green Party), Senator Alice-Mary Higgins (Independent), Cllr Madeleine Johansson (People Before Profit) and Kate O'Connell TD (Fine Gael). The theme of the evening was “Will 2019 be Ireland's Year of #MoreWomen?”
The number of women running for election in Ireland is steadily rising, from 16% in local elections in 2009 to 21% in 2014. The recent swell in political activism surrounding issues such as marriage equality and the repeal of the eighth amendment has given rise to the possibility of more women becoming involved in politics.
Speaking about the event, CEO of Women for Election Ciairín de Buis said: “At the moment 22% of TDs are women - which is a historic high, but it’s still far too low. The appetite for more women to enter politics is there and I, and Women for Election, want to help any woman thinking about running to have the courage and confidence to put her name on the ballot, either with a party nomination or as an independent.”
The discussion also touched on the efforts of each TD's party to achieve more gender equality. Each TD noted their party's committment to improving gender balance, with Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell saying: "Whilst mindful of the progress we have made in terms of female representation, it is still shocking that 78% of those in Dáil Éireann are men. The figures are starker when we consider female representation at cabinet and junior ministry level. The time for hand wringing is over – leaders must now act by example. The time for acceptance of anything less than an equal male to female ratio is nigh on over.”
Women for Election will be hosting training sessions throughout 2019 to advise women on how to get involved with local and national elections.