A Fianna Fáil senator claims that strong women have been kept off electoral tickets in the past, including those from her own party, to protect a sitting male TD.
Averil Power was speaking in the context of controversy over a newspaper article from a party colleague in Dublin who expressed concerns about gender quota legislation, because of the risk of "patronisation" of women.
Councillor Tom Brabazon also called for the public to promote "real women with real life experience of childbirth".
Senator Power says stronger women have been kept off the ticket for too long in Ireland.
She said: "Many women have told me that, from Fianna Fáil, from Fine Gael and from other parties that that has been their experience.
"Women who have huge community experience and who are business leaders locally will say that they know that there are whisper campaigns against them when they are going for a selection convention.
"That their rivals at the convention ensure that they couldn't get elected, and that's not right. People have a responsibility to give voters a choice."