• Councillor Jennifer Whitmore says funds will subsidise training for 300 women running for election
Greystones Councillor Jennifer Whitmore today welcomed Women for Election’s plan to raise €50,000 in an innovative crowdfunding campaign. The funds will be used to subsidise training for about 300 women running in the local elections in 2019 and in the next general election.
Whitmore, who took part in a Women for Election training programme, said that Women for Election has a strong track record of providing practical support to inspire, equip and inform women entering politics.
Of the 194 women who secured seats in the 2014 local elections, 50 per cent were trained on Women for Election programmes, while in the 2016 General Election, 40 per cent of the newly elected women TDs had been through the programmes. Cllr. Whitmore topped the poll in her constituency of Wicklow, getting the third highest percentage of votes in the country and the highest female vote.
Thirty-five women were elected as Members of the 32nd Dáil, an all- time high. Yet, women still account for just 22 per cent of TDs and 30 per cent of senators.
“It is never too early to prepare for the next election. Women need to get ready to run in the local elections in 2019 and in the next general election. With the help of the training provided by Women for Election, I look forward to seeing even more women represented politically at local and national level,’’ Whitmore said.
Whitmore added, “In 2009, only one woman was elected to Wicklow County Council out of 24 councillors. In 2011, this had risen to 7 women, or 22% of the elected members. Whilst this is a good step in the right direction, it is still a long way off being representative. Day-in, day-out I work with fantastic women in the community, and I would love to see some of this expertise and determination transfer over to our political system. A local council that is more representative of our communities will be better for everyone”.
Women for Election founders Niamh Gallagher and Michelle O’Donnell Keating said:
“We have come a long way in the five years since we established Women for Election. But building lasting equality in Irish politics will take time. We are now taking the next steps by laying the groundwork for the next phase of our work.
“Our experience is that people really want to see more gender equality in Irish politics. This crowdfunding campaign gives everyone the opportunity to help achieve that by contributing to the work Women for Election does inspiring and supporting women to take the first step and make a difference in politics.”
Anybody who would like to support the campaign can opt for a number of donation options, offering a range of campaign perks – get full details at www.womenforelection.ie/donate.
About Women for Election
Women for Election is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organisation that aims to inspire, equip and inform women to succeed in politics. The organisation was founded in 2012 by Niamh Gallagher and Michelle O’Donnell Keating. WfE provides practical supports for women entering politics. The programmes aim to tackle the Five C’s that hold women back from participating in public life – Confidence, Cash, Childcare, Candidate Selection and Culture. For further information about Women for Election, please visit www.womenforelection.ie.
About Councillor Jennifer Whitmore
Jennifer Whitmore is the Social Democrat Councillor for the Greystones Municipal District in County Wicklow. She was elected in the 2014 local election. Originally from Wexford, Jennifer moved to Australia in 2001 and lived there for 10 years. While in Australia she got her first insight into political life working alongside government Ministers developing environmental law, water management and energy policy.
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