Speaking at a panel discussion in Dublin this week, Women for Election founder and Board member Niamh Gallagher said 2018 will be a crucial year for resetting the gender balance in Irish politics. She urged women to use the year in which we will mark 100 years of female suffrage, to get ready to run in the 2019 local and European elections.
The Women for Election Christmas event in the Royal Irish Academy, brings together a cross party panel of female politicians to review the political events of the year. Speakers include Mary Lou McDonald, TD; and, Niamh Smyth, TD; and; Cllr Jennifer Whitmore.
Niamh Gallagher said, “A number of important issues affecting women have been to the fore in Irish politics this year. The issue of gender in politics itself has also been the subject of much debate, with our crowdfunding campaign during the summer proving the appetite for women in politics by far exceeding its target and raising almost €60,000. Tonight is an opportunity to hear from women at the heart of Irish politics about these and other topics and events.”
“We have come a long way in the 100 years since women in Ireland gained the right to vote but still women account for just 22% of TDs and only 19 women have ever been appointed to Cabinet. Disappointingly, this year the number of women in the Cabinet was actually diluted by Leo Varadkar upon his appointment as Taoiseach. When you look at the numbers, you are struck by a realisation that really we have not come anywhere close enough to gender equality in Irish politics.”
New CEO appointed
Niamh Gallagher this evening announced that Women for Election has appointed Ciairín de Buis as its new CEO to lead the organisation in its mission to increase the number of women in politics.
She said, “We are delighted to announce Ciarín de Buis as the new CEO of Women for Election. Ciairín has impressive experience, working with national advocacy and campaigning organisations, most recently as CEO of children’s rights organisation, Start Strong. She has a very strong commitment to equality in society and politics, and she will be a fantastic asset to the organisation as we enter an exciting new phase in our development.
“Women for Election’s focus in the year ahead will be to lay the foundations to change the statistics for women in politics. We want to encourage and prepare female candidates across the political spectrum to run in the 2019 local and European elections.
“Local elections are a vital pipeline to national politics and, as we saw throughout this turbulent year, a General Election is rarely far from the horizon in this Dáil. So our message to women tonight is this: get ready to run.
“We are asking Irish women to make a New Year’s resolution to seriously consider politics, and we are urging everybody to make an effort to encourage women they know to step forward and become a candidate. Women for Election will be there to support those who do,” Niamh Gallagher pledged.