Irish parliament passes female quota bill
A bill has passed in the Irish parliament declaring that unless 30% of parliamentary candidates are females, half of state funding will be withdrawn from political parties.
This stems from the country’s poor record of attracting women to put themselves forward as parliamentary candidates. Currently, 15.1% of Irish members of parliament are women.
The quota will rise to 40% female candidates after seven years.
The Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogel, said that a financial penalty was the only way for the parties to take the issue seriously.
Deputy Nolan said: “The introduction of gender quotas for nominations will change the dynamic in the Dáil [Irish parliament]. I hope it will create a new atmosphere that will spread to other areas of society.”
Chairwoman Edel Clancy suggested the quotas be extended for local elections in 2014.
“International research continually shows that candidate gender quotas are a successful contributor to increasing women’s political representation worldwide,” she said.
However, the Women for Election group have claimed that this legislation would not be enough to fight the unbalanced ratio, and the lobby group has suggested mentoring and training to encourage women to stand to be members of parliament.
In the UK parliament, 22% of MPs are female. It is believed that childcare, cash and confidence are among the reasons that far fewer women are in governments worldwide.