Call for more women in politics


Irish women need to seize the spirit that propelled Mary Robinson to be the first female president of Ireland to neutralise the prevailing macho political culture, Labour Women chairwoman Katherine Dunne said today.

Ms Dunne was speaking on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the election of Mary Robinson as president on November 9th, 1990.

“Mary Robinson praised the women of Ireland for rocking the system by voting for a new Ireland. Her spirit lives on. We need to keep that spirit up and keep tackling inequalities in the system to strive for a truly equal Ireland. Our unfinished democracy where women are under-represented ignores the need for more balanced politics where women play an equal role,” she said.

She called upon the political parties who will make up the next government to implement recommended measures such as legislation for gender balance amongst Dáil candidates.

Only 14 per cent of Dáil deputies are women, making Ireland 88th in the world for female representatives at national parliament level. Women’s representation at national level has disimproved over the years. In 1990, the Dáil was 37th in the world.

“In Ireland, the prevailing macho political culture has contributed to a system in which squandered gains have given way to savage cuts. Those who are most vulnerable in our society are now paying the price for our economic recovery,” said Ms Dunne.

“Women are no worse or better than men when it comes to making difficult but fair decisions about how to run the country. But what is better is a balanced team that represents all the people equally,” she said.

“Only when women take their full place at the decision-making table will we be able to achieve the true equality that Mary Robinson made us believe was possible."