Groups welcome passing of Bill on gender quotas

Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 01:00

GENDER QUOTAS are set to become law after the Electoral Amendment (Political Funding) Bill 2011 passed all stages in the Dáil yesterday.

The legislation, which has yet to be signed by the President, will halve State funding to parties unless 30 per cent of their candidates at the next general election are women. This figure will rise to 40 per cent at subsequent general elections.

An advocacy group that campaigns for gender equality in Irish politics, the 50:50 group, welcomed the Bill’s passage and praised Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, who sponsored the legislation.

Chairwoman Edel Clancy described the development as “extremely positive”.

“International research continually shows that candidate gender quotas are a successful contributor to increasing women’s political representation worldwide.

“We warmly welcome the gender quota proposal as we believe it will contribute significantly to redressing the gender imbalance in Irish politics,” she said.

However, she called for the quota to be extended to local elections in 2014.

The lobby group Women for Election also welcomed the development, but said the legislation would not be enough to encourage more women into politics.

Co-founder Niamh Gallagher said other “proactive” measures, such as mentoring and training, were necessary to encourage more women to run for office.

The legislation has proved contentious in the past, with a small number of Government backbenchers speaking out against it.

Earlier this year Fine Gael general secretary Tom Curran said the measure was essential to bring more women into politics, but warned “there’s going to be blood on the floor” at selection conventions as a consequence.