Women for Election had called for a balanced cabinet, for political leadership, for the government to recognise that it is, after all, 2020. In response the government appointed 4 women to cabinet. 4 women. Since the foundation of the State a total of 22 women have served in cabinet. That’s not good enough. And while 2 super-juniors (who sit at cabinet) were appointed, both of those women – and others – would be more than able to serve at cabinet level. A political choice was made that a balanced cabinet was not a priority.
In contrast, a balanced Seanad was a political priority – 9 of the 11 nominated by the Taoiseach to serve in the Seanad were women. Women for Election had highlighted the imbalance in the Seanad and called on the incoming Taoiseach to nominate women to the Seanad. We welcome that the Seanad is now more balanced, 40% of Senators are women, and better reflects our diversity in Ireland.
If you want to see a balanced cabinet, a balanced Dáil, balanced councils, and you are not politically active, why not change that? Why not join a party – one that works for you and your values – and challenge them to better balance? Or think of running as an independent to represent your local community? Or if you haven’t supported Women for Election financially before (or could afford to give more now) maybe now is the time for you to donate? Now is the time for us all to do more than rage at home – we need to have our voices heard; politics needs to change.
We wish the new government well, we have challenging times ahead as a country, and we look forward to working with them to bring about that change – and working towards an Ireland with the full participation of women in our political system.
We are delighted to welcome Senators Alice-Mary Higgins, Fiona O’Loughlin and Pauline O’Reilly to a special edition of our In Conversation With…series.
Public Affairs director and former journalist, Colette Sexton will facilitate a discussion around the recent government formation, the new Taoiseach’s nominations to the Seanad, as well as gender equality in Irish Politics.
In Conversation With…
Deputy Mary Lou McDonald with Martina Fitzgerald– 16th July @ 3pm
How Does a Government Handover Work? by The Journal
13th on Netflix