Breakthrough Manifesto for Women attracts 100 candidates
National women’s council says campaign on general election ‘to end gender inequality’
National Women’s Council of Ireland director Orla O’Connor: Breakthrough Manifesto for Women “going really well”. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
One hundred candidates for this year’s general election have now signed up to the The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) Breakthrough Manifesto for Women – a 10-point plan to “take action to end gender inequality”.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is among those who have now signed up to the manifesto. “I have signed the NWCI’s Breakthrough Manifesto for Women because Sinn Féin supports the proposals contained in it and they align with many of our own proposals to deliver women’s equality in Ireland,” he said.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has also signed the manifesto. “It’s time to move on issues that affect women and take action,” she said.
They join Labour Minister of State for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Independent Senators Averil Power and Katherine Zappone, Independent Socialist TD Clare Daly, Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy and the 100 candidates who have signed up to the manifesto.
“It is going really well,” said NWCI director Orla O’Connor.
“The gender balance is great. The fact that so many men as well as women are signing up is a really positive sign in terms of where we go on women’s equality in the next government.”
She said that the council had expected women candidates to sign, but have been surprised at the number of men. “We wanted men to sign up too and they are. There is almost a 50-50 split in the numbers of candidates signing up, which is really positive for where we go in terms of women’s equality in the next government.”
The manifesto, which Ms O’Connor says clarifies policies to improve gender equality, is also having an effect at constituency level.
“This has gone beyond the women’s council now. It is about women and men in their constituencies as voters asking their candidates if they have signed up and, if not , asking them to sign up to be certain of their vote.
“There is a real discussion going on social media now about who has signed up and who hasn’t. Voters know and it will make a big difference to who people vote for,” she said.
The manifesto contains a commitment to repeal the eighth amendment to the Constitution. Mr Adams said that the amendment “prevents doctors from providing proper care to women and it should be repealed. The position of Sinn Féin is quite clear on this matter: in government we will deliver a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment and campaign to have the amendment repealed.”