Gender Quotas and the 2016 General Election

The 5050 group were delighted to attend the conference in UCC on the 28th November 2016 on the impact of the Gender Quotas on the 2016 GE. There was a terrific line up of speakers and they did not disappoint.
In the morning session we heard about the complexity of our electoral system and the extent to which the political parties are the main gate keepers to whom the electorate can choose. We are used to geographical quotas with constituencies and therefore quotas are not completely new. The gender quota is an important addition.
Polling after the GE found that the majority of voters were in favour of gender quotas if it meant adding a greater gender balance to the ballot paper.
In the afternoon we heard from the courageous people who were willing to put themselves forward for election. Some got through and some did not. They spoke very candidly about how difficult it was being the first election in which the quotas applied and the fallout from that. Making that experience a less difficult one is an ambition for the future. If democracy is to flourish then standing as a candidate should not be a traumatic experience.

Well done to everyone involved and a special thank you to 5050 member Dr Fiona Buckley for being the inspiration for the conference.

The 5050 group attends the NWCI AGM

I was delighted to attend the NWCI AGM on Friday 9th September 2016. The Tanaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald addressed the meeting. It was great to have such a senior Minister attend the meeting. Kitty Holland chaired a round table discussion on the Feminist agenda. Dr Ciara Kelly spoke representing doctors for choice. She emphasised that women’s health is being impacted by the lack of access to abortion in Ireland. The Tanaiste maintained that the best way forward was to wait for the recommendations of the citizen’s assembly in October. Sinead Burke spoke eloquently on what it was like to be a women with a disability. She outlined that she had been subjected to name calling because of her size. She was proactive in reporting the incident to the Garda. She is involved in raising awareness about hate crimes amongst new recruits to the Gardai. Lynn Ruane spoke passionately about her growing awareness of the feminist agenda. She spoke of the women that are not in the room and how we need to invite them in. It was great to be in the company of so many inspirational feminists.