This evening the Irish not-for-profit organisation Women for Election was awarded the 2017 Gender Equality Award at the International Electoral Affairs Symposium and Awards Ceremony in Jordan. The Award was made by the European Centre for Electoral Support and the ICPS (International Centre for Parliamentary Studies).

This Award rewards Electoral Management Bodies, Electoral Officials and organisations who encouraged and implemented equal participation rights for women and men to guarantee the proportionality and representativeness of elections. Women for Election was in competition with electoral bodies and organisations from around the world, and shared the award with the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary of Mexico.

Women for Election is a non-partisan organisation whose vision is of an Ireland with balanced participation of women and men in political life. The organisation aims to inspire and equip women to succeed in politics through offering tailored training and support programmes to women seeking to enter public life.

Women for Election offers a tailored training and support programmes to women seeking to enter public life; and provides and facilitates a cross-party network of political women, committed to gender equality in Irish political representation. We believe that a diversity of voices in our politics will lead to more robust decisions, and help create a fairer, more inclusive and dynamic society. To date, almost 1000 women have experienced our training and preparation courses.

Since the foundation of the Irish State in 1918, just 114 women have been elected to the Dail in the Republic of Ireland; our Dáil has never been less than 78% male.

The General Election in February 2016 was an important step towards achieving gender equality in Dáil Éireann. 35 women were elected as Members of the 32nd Dáil, an all- time high, 1 in 5 TDs is now a woman. This is a significant increase on the results of the 2011 General Election when just 25 women were elected to the 31st Dáil. Now, with women making up 22% of the 32nd Dáil Ireland ranks 75th in the world, which is both a cause for celebration and a reminder that we still have work to do.

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