For the first time, a woman is running in every constituency – NWCI

FG, FF and Labour nominate just enough female election candidates for State funding

Orla O’Connor, director of NWCI said, “There are some good news stories with, for the first time ever, a woman running in every constituency.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Orla O’Connor, director of NWCI said, “There are some good news stories with, for the first time ever, a woman running in every constituency.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour have just managed to nominate enough female candidates to guarantee State funding, according to the most up to date figures.

Under current legislation, State funding to parties will be halved unless 30 per cent of their candidates in the general election are women. This is expected to rise to 40 per cent in the coming years.

Only 32 per cent of officially declared candidates across the main political parties are women, according to the most recent estimates on the first day of the general election campaign.

So far, an analysis of those who have declared their intention to run, carried out by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) shows that 30.5 per cent of candidates for Fine Gael are women – just above the required threshold.

In Fianna Fáil, the most recent estimate shows this figure is 30.4 per cent, which is the same for the Labour Party. Meanwhile, 41.7 per cent of the Green Party’s candidates are women.

The Social Democrats have the highest number with 63.6 per cent, while 37.8 per cent of Sinn Féin’s candidates so far are female. In Renua, only 13.3 per cent of candidates are women.

Women for Election chief executive Ciairín de Buis has urged all parties to aim for at least 40 per cent gender balance among their candidates as the final additions to the tickets are made in the coming days.

“The 30 per cent requirement is the bare minimum: we’re calling on the parties to be much more ambitious and to aim for a more balanced ticket. We would like to see the parties running at least 40 per cent women. It may be stating the obvious but if we want to see more women elected, we need to see more women running for election.”

‘Significant problem’

The organisation has pointed out that Ireland has a “significant problem” with its gender balance in political life because while women represent more than half of the population, they account for less than a quarter of elected politicians.

“This general election is historic in that for the first time, as far as we know, there is at least one woman running in every constituency. We saw in the local elections in May that when women ran, they were just as likely to get elected. Now we have the chance to see more women elected to the Dáil, the parties need to make sure there are more women on the ticket and so the electorate then have the chance to make that happen,” Ciairín de Buis said.

Orla O’Connor, director of NWCI said, “There are some good news stories with, for the first time ever, a woman running in every constituency. However, overall when it comes to gender in this election, the big parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are barely meeting the current 30 per cent quota. This shows that our largest parties are not doing enough to achieve equal representation for women particularly given that the quota will rise to 40 per cent in 2023. While some of the smaller parties are doing very well in running higher numbers of women, with the Greens running over 40 per cent and the Social Democrats running over 60 per cent, it is very unlikely that we will reach the critical mass of 30 per cent of women elected in the 33rd Dáil.”