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06 Oct 2022

Push to see more women in local politics in Louth

More Women Day

Push to see more women in local politics in Louth

“A significant increase in the number of women on election tickets across Louth electoral areas” is one of the aims for the next local elections in 2024, say Women for Election, a national, non-partisan organisation who says its objective is to “work to help achieve an Ireland with balanced participation of women and men in political life.”

Caitriona Gleeson, CEO of Women for Election, said that if Louth and Ireland is to reach the stated aim of 50/50 gender representation in politics by the end of this decade, things have to start with ensuring that there is at least 50/50 representation on the ballot papers from the 2024 local elections. 

“Women belong in equal numbers on every ballot paper and at every decision-making table, she commented.

Of the 27 county councillors elected to Louth County Council in 2019, 11 were women, representing 41% of the Council chamber, well above the national average of 25% and making it one of the most gender representative councils in the country.

Ms Gleeson was speaking at the launch of Ireland’s first ‘More Women’ Day, which coincides with the birthday of Countess Markievicz today, February 4th. Countess Markievicz was Ireland’s and Europe’s first ever Cabinet Minister in 1919. More Women Day will run annually on February 4th to raise awareness about the importance of equal and diverse political representation for Irish democracy and development.

“The absence of a critical mass of women from the Dáil and the majority of local councils across Ireland in 2022 not only hurts women it also hurts the majority of men as the lack of diversity in decision making is severely limiting the potential for effective governance and a healthy democracy,” Ms Gleeson explained. “The status quo and democratic inertia we have had to accept in our politics is also damaging Ireland’s reputation as a progressive country.”

There were five Dáil seats available in Louth in the 2020 General Election, and one woman was returned. Of the 39 constituencies in the country, 11 did not elect a single woman. 

Ms Gleeson acknowledged that there is both public and political will to change the static political landscape. All major political parties have shown strong support for more women in politics. The proof, however, will be in seeing a significant gender shift on ballot papers and in election results, she said

As part of this first More Women Day, Women for Election has launched its newest initiative called Count Her In. Research by Women for Election shows that women often have to be asked multiple times and by a number of people to consider running for election.

The Count Her In campaign will ask women directly to count themselves in but it will also ask others to think about women they know who would make great local and national politicians and to nominate, encourage and support them to run.

Women for Election are asking people to nominate women they think could make great politicians on www.womenforelection.ie throughout the month of February.

There, they can sign up to find out more about the bespoke training and supports provided by Women for Election for those thinking about politics. The next Women for Election Inspire Campaign School takes place on-line on February 15th.

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