Alice Mary Higgins, the daughter of President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Coyne, is to run for the Seanad.
The UCD English and philosophy graduate, who is currently policy and campaigns officer with the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), will contest a seat on the NUI panel. She will take unpaid leave from the council to mount her campaign.
No woman has been elected on the NUI panel since Gemma Hussey in 1981.
Ms Higgins said she was seeking to close the gender pay and pension gap, repeal the 8th Amendment, tackle violence against women and increase representation and equality for women “in all areas of our national life”. But she said her concerns were “wider then gender alone”.
Orla O’Connor, director of NWCI, said the council thought it vital women with a strong focus on women’s equality and sustainable economics put themselves forward for both the Dáil and the Seanad.
Ms Higgins said she would be launching her manifesto and website over the coming weeks.
She joins Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, former chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and a former board member of the NWCI, in the quest for an NUI Seanad seat.