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Take a radical approach to gender quotas

Gender quotas may not be perfect but they at least they give the opportunity to start to redress the balance in political representation.

Imagine, as a man, you enter the voting booth at election time and you only see one man pictured on the list of candidates, or maybe two, but there are 12 women. You might give the men your number one and two votes because you think they will understand your needs; or you might not; but which of the 12 remaining candidates, who are all women, would best represent your interests? How might these women legislate and vote on issues such as paternity leave, child care, abortion, assisted reproduction, working in the home, equal pay, discrimination, suicide prevention, regulation of financial services, corporate tax, VAT rates and income tax?

Until women and men are governed by a balance of women and men, then nothing will change as most women and men will continue to accept the status quo. This status quo has been around for hundreds of years and means a girl usually grows up thinking she is not as capable as a man at governing or she has to behave like a man to get elected or become a leader.

The quickest and easiest way to 50-50 male- female representation would be to enact a law which states that there must always be a female and a male list of candidates with voting (by the electorate) applied to each separately. The top candidates on each list would be elected. Are we ready for such radical change here in Ireland?

Alison Hackett

Crosthwaite Park East

Dun Laoghaire

Co Dublin


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