Women in politics ‘suffers setback’

Efforts to encourage more women to enter politics have suffered a setback as a result of the failure of the Taoiseach to include any female TDs in his junior ministerial appointments, it has been claimed.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland joined a number of backbench TDs in strongly criticising Enda Kenny for failing to redress a significant gender imbalance when announcing promotions this week.

The group has also questioned the Government’s commitment to the successful implementation of the gender quotas at the next general election.

“The complete absence of women in the nine appointments made by Fine Gael to the position of minister of state is very disappointing. We are concerned about the impact this could have on the successful implementation of gender quotas at the next general election,” said its women in politics officer, Louise Glennon.

Legislation was passed in 2012 to introduce gender quotas at the next election, which would require parties to ensure each gender is represented by 30% of candidates, or face cuts in State funding. “To attract women to political life, the Government, as well as opposition parties must have female role models in visible, senior positions,” said council director Orla O’Connor.

“The contribution of female politicians must be valued and rewarded through promotion. It is very disappointing to see none of Fine Gael’s very able female TDs promoted to the position of minister of state, despite the commitment this Government has made to increasing the number of women engaged in politics in Ireland,” she said.

A number of Fine Gael TDs criticised the decision not to promote any women in Tuesday’s reshuffle.

Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, said: “I am miffed, as are my female colleagues. We have smart, articulate women in the party. We’ll need to get women to run, it’s a missed opportunity.”

Cork North West TD Áine Collins said she regretted at least one female TD was not promoted.


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