Gender quotas should be introduced for next year’s local elections, according to the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI).

“We are calling on the Government to replicate the success of the gender quota legislation at national level and introduce quotas for candidates for the local elections. The legislation should be in place for the upcoming local elections in 2019,” said Orla O’Connor, director of NWCI.

She was responding to Fine Gael’s announcement of a year-long programme celebrating the centenary of women getting the vote in Ireland.

While she welcomed it, she said a greater representation of women in society would provide real equality.

“We welcome the commitment by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to use 2018 not only as a year to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage but as a year to bring forward concrete steps to advance women’s equality in Ireland,” she said.

“Improving the representation of women in key leadership positions must be an integral part of this.”

The NWCI director emphasised the positive effect of gender quotas in the 2016 general election.

“The existing gender quotas for candidates for the general election showed that this type of legislation has had a significant positive impact on greater representation of women.

“While women only made up 15% of TDs after the 2011 general election, this figure went up to 22% following the 2016 general election. The number of women is likely to increase over the course of the next general elections to reach the critical mass of 30% women TDs,” she said.

Mr Varadkar said his party’s centenary programme had three aims, one of which was to engage women in setting the vision of gender equality for the future.


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