Judge female candidates on substance not looks, says women’s council

National Women’s Council of Ireland calls for gender balance in election debates

 National Women’s Council of Ireland director Orla O’Connor said economic decisions taken over the past five years had hit women hardest. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

National Women’s Council of Ireland director Orla O’Connor said economic decisions taken over the past five years had hit women hardest. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

Women should be judged on what they say and do, and not how they look, Louise Glennon of the National Women’s Council of Ireland has said as Taoiseach Enda Kenny prepares to announce the election date.

Representatives of political parties and producers of television and radio shows should also insist on gender balance in every programme and discussion during the general election campaign, said Ms Glennon, who heads the council’s Women In Leadership project.

Women should be involved in discussions about the impact of all economic policy, not just about childcare, she added.

“It is equally important that we hear women’s voices in fiscal and economic discussions, as well as in those of childcare and violence against women.”

The council’s director Orla O’Connor called for a “sexism free” general election campaign. Remarking that the gender quota had ensured that “voters will have a real choice to vote for more women, issues of women’s equality will be central to policy discussions”.

Ms O’Connor said economic decisions taken over the past five years had hit women hardest yet we rarely heard women consulted on economic matters.

So far, over 125 candidates including Labour Minister of State for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams have signed up to the council’s Breakthrough Manifesto, which contains a 10-point strategy to address gender inequality, including repealing the eighth amendment of the Constitution.