Turning the tide for women in politics


Sir, – Alison Hackett (February 24th) feels “the tide is turning” for Mná na hÉireann. The background is the launch of a programme to commemorate the centenary of women getting the vote and the commemoration of the birth of Constance Markievicz. The feeling of optimism is, however, a bit premature.

Because they live longer, women are the majority in the electorate and, in what is supposed to be a representative democracy, should have had a high representation in the most powerful decision-making forum in our society, the Dáil.

The fact is that historically since women got the vote and Markievicz was elected in 1918, women have been a small minority in the Dáil. Between 1922 and the early 1980s, fewer than 5 per cent of TDs were women and fewer than 10 per cent were women into the 1990s. Even after the introduction of a 30 per cent quota in the last election, the proportion of women in the Dáil is still only 22 per cent.

The only way to turn the tide is to reverse that situation, and really commemorate Constance Markievicz and the centenary of getting the vote, is for women to use their majority status at the next election to ensure they are adequately represented in the Dáil. – Yours, etc,


Sutton, Dublin 13.