Women should have half the seats in the Dáil

While women constitute half of our population, they are seriously under-represented in national politics. Out of the 4,452 Dáil seats between 1918 and 2009, only 219 were filled by women (4.9%). At present, only 26 TDs out of 166 are women (16%).

Women should have half the seats in the Dáil

Such an imbalance is unhealthy and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Our culture of politics has evolved to suit a certain class of men. Confrontational politics is the reason why many woman are not involved.

The locker-room atmosphere caused by the un-natural over-representation of men is not half as much fun as it appears. A healthy gender balance calms things down. Men bring passion. Women bring reason.

A simple solution is to elect two TDs from each constituency, one who is a woman and one who is not, using PR STV and two lists.

This will also reduce time-wasting and exhausting clientelism.

A minor constitutional amendment would be needed and, in any event, such a sea change should go to referendum; but what an opportunity for us all.

Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh

An Leabharlann Dlí

Baile Átha Cliath

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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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