Record number of women candidates running in local elections

562 women have registered to stand in the local elections so far but that represents only a third of all candidates declared

The number of women running in the upcoming local elections has, with three weeks left until nominations close, already exceeded the total that appeared on ballots last time around.

As of Monday, 562 women had declared as candidates for the June 7th votes, up from 561 in 2019. The total is expected to rise before formal nominations close on May 18th.

The figures are taken from a blog compiled by Maynooth University lecturer Dr Adrian Kavanagh, who has been monitoring candidates who have put their names forward.

The figure of 562 represents 33.2 per cent of the 1,695 candidates who have declared to date. By comparison, just 314 women contested the 2009 city and council elections with 440 doing so in 2014.


There are no gender quotas for candidates at local election level, but 40 per cent of candidates at the next general election must be women.

Dr Kavanagh believes this is driving increased representation for women as many of them will be using the local elections to increase their profiles.

Women for Election spokeswoman Katie Deegan said the increase was down to a number of factors.

Many women have wanted to get more involved since Covid-19 and have seen how decisions made at local and national level impact on their communities, she said. Ms Deegan also said there is a growing awareness of the deficit in the number of women sitting on local authorities.

However, she added that quotas should to be introduced for local elections as a “critical mass of women is needed to disrupt the system”.

“Progress is a bit slow. We want it to happen quicker,” she said.

The alternative, she suggested, was to entrench male domination of local authorities, with sons and grandsons of former councillors often inheriting seats.

Currently, just one in four councillors are women and there are no women councillors in 41 of the 166 local authority areas. Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council is the only local authority that had equal gender representation after the last local election, with 19 women out of 40 councillors. Just two out of 30 councillors in Mayo are women (7 per cent).

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times