THE NATIONAL Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) has expressed dismay at the low number of women in Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s newly-formed cabinet.
In a statement reacting to the formation of the new coalition, NWCI director Orla O’Connor said the presence of just four women in the 15-strong cabinet was a result of Ireland’s two main political parties failing to run sufficient number of women on electable seats during the last general election.
She is now calling on the new Taoiseach to do more to actively promote more women in politics.
“It is really disappointing that in 2020 we will still only have four women as Cabinet Ministers,” Ms. O’Connor said.
“The current makeup of the Cabinet is a direct result of the missed opportunity by the two main political parties to run sufficient numbers of women on electable seats during the last general election.
“Four women do not even meet the current quota of 30% where we can begin to address gender balance, let alone the desired 50/50 split that has been achieved in many other countries across the world.”
“It will be crucial now that all Ministers promote women’s equality over the next Dáil term.”
"Women cannot afford to wait for equality,” she continued.
“With just 30.6% of elected Senators being women and only 22.5% women in the Dáil, progress to date has been shamefully slow.
“Women also remain severely underrepresented at local level. Councillors are often the pool of people that political parties recruit from for their candidates for the Oireachtas. “
The NWCI is urging the new Government to pass legislation for the introduction of a gender quota for local elections in 2023.
They also want an increase in the number of initiatives supporting women to run for political office at all levels.