Petition for more women in the Dáil
The civil society group Claiming Our Future has launched a petition today demanding that political parties promote greater participation by women in politics. [Pictured: The nine People Before Profit election candidates, four of which are women]
"Between 2007 and 2009, political parties received over €15 million under the Electoral Acts, one of the purposes of which is to 'promote the participation of women in politics'," a statement issued by Claiming Our Future says. "Of this €15 million, the parties chose to spend less than a third of a million (€323,364), or 2% on the promotion of women.
"Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael spend the least on promoting women, both spending less than 0.5% of the money available to them on this purpose. Sinn Fein and Labour both spend around 8% of the fund on promoting women in politics. Parties spend the overwhelming portion of this funding (over 75%) on 'General Administration'."
Women are considerably underrepresented in Irish politics. Women accounted for 21 of the 166 TDs elected to the 30th Dail in 2007 (12.65% of TDs). Slightly over 15% of candidates in the 2011 General Election are women (86 women versus 480 men). Many prominent female politicians retired their posts ahead of the election, including Mary Upton, Liz McManus, Olwyn Enright, Mary Harney, Beverley Flynn and Mary Wallace.
"The Electoral Act should be changed to cut the funding for those parties who refuse or can't be bothered," the statement says. "Unless these commitments are made now, we will still be talking about [political gender imbalance] at the next election. And being told that again it is too late."
Claiming Our Future is inviting people to sign an online petition here.
In December 2010, Claiming Our Future gathered over 7,000 signatures to protect the minimum wage in the 48 hours before Budget Day on 7 December. Many of the signatories protested the reduction of the National Minimum Wage from €8.65 to €7.79 outside the Dail on Budget Day. The reduction in the minimum wage was passed, though some parties have committed to reversing this measure should they gain office.
Women of the 30th Dail (2007 – 2011)
- Áine Brady (FF) -Kildare North
- Joan Burton (Lab) -Dublin West
- Catherine Byrne (FG) - Dublin South Central
- Deirdre Clune (FG) - Cork South Central
- Margaret Conlon (FF) - Cavan-Monaghan
- Beverley Flynn (Ind) - Mayo
- Mary Coughlan (FF) - Donegal South West
- Lucinda Creighton (FG) - Dublin South East
- Olwyn Enright (FG) - Laois-Offaly
- Mary Hanafin (FF) - Dún Laoghaire
- Mary Harney (PD) - Dublin Mid-West
- Máire Hoctor (FF) -Tipperary North
- Kathleen Lynch (Lab) - Cork North Central
- Liz McManus (Lab) - Wicklow
- Olivia Mitchell (FG) - Dublin South
- Jan O'Sullivan (Lab) - Limerick East
- Róisín Shortall (Lab) - Dublin North West
- Joanna Tuffy (Lab) - Dublin Mid-West
- Mary Upton (Lab) - Dublin South Central
- Mary Wallace (FF) - Meath East ..
- Mary White (Green) - Carlow-Kilkenny
Of the 30 TDs in the 29th Dail who lost their seat in the 2007 General Election, six were women:
- Cecelia Keaveney (FF) - Donegal North-East
- Liz O'Donnell (PD) -Dublin South
- Fiona O'Malley (PD) -Dún Laoghaire
- Breda Cronin-Moynihan (Lab) - Kerry South
- Catherine Murphy (Ind) - Kildare North
- Mae Sexton (PD) - Longford-Westmeath.