Why do I support the aims of the 5050 Group?
Simple… I have a 6 year old daughter (& 2 sons too). I want her to rule the world – or at least feel she could run anything she likes when she grows up…
As a parent, I feel responsible for bringing her back to Ireland – from UK where she was born. She had no power, no ability to influence where she grew up. It’s my fault she grew up in Ireland. That’s the way I think…
So when I got a chance to go to the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, I swallowed my pride – I buried my impulse to damn Fianna Fáil – in favour of my will to be a good parent. I went willingly into “that good night“.
I support 5050 Group because…
it was formed to lobby for a better Ireland – for an Ireland in which my daughter could grow up taking it foregranted laws are made by women & men equally. That’s what I want her to assume. Unconsciously & consciously suck it up that she lives in an environment in which she can flourish…
I don’t want my child to grow up in a society in which men make laws & women pull strings behind the scenes. Pubic life is for all.
For me this is a crystal clear issue.
Gender quotas are trivial compared with the big picture. The really important matter is who makes the laws. Who debates & votes on legislation… who interprets the laws in the courts… For me the best way to ensure my child gets an Ireland I can comfortably die in is for the Oireachtas of Ireland to be occupied by 50% of each gender. Parliament & Constitution set the framework of culture, icons, symbols & flags that matter fundamentally.
Just to be clear…
those who oppose gender quotas in Irish politics may well be decent people – the only thing separating us may be the tactical question of whether quotas will lead to improvement. But opposition to quotas may also disguise attachment to the status quo. Those who oppose gender quotas are responsible for persuading me they are not “backwoodsmen” – conservative old codgers dedicated to putting gender equality “on the long finger“.
I have no time for those who oppose gender quotas in principle. All I care about is whether people are on the side I favour, the side that will result in my daughter being free to apply all her talents.
Others may take a different view.
That doesn’t bother me – I have only one vote. Thank goodness each person has only one vote. This is not about political ideology or political point-scoring. No matter how many Fine Gael or Fianna Fail young people oppose change – I count each person as having only one vote.
Why support 5050 Group?
I’m clear on why I do. Even if I fail to convince one single person to join the struggle to change Ireland for the better in this respect – at least I’m clear on my desire.
Let there be change.
I’ll admit I’ve always been a radical. I’m on the extreme wing of the gender equality in politics movement. If it was up to me, I’d reserve 50% of the seats in Dail Eireann for women. I totally agree with Kathleen Lynch when she says “I want to vote for mediocre women.” As far as I’m concerned the quality can wait – I want the stats first.
Whether women like it or not, I insist they should be lawmaking. Whether men like it or not, I insist they deserve no more than 50% of the vote on every single law & local authority bye-law.
This is an extreme view…
I can & do collaborate with people who don’t share my extreme view. I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. But I am fighting the good fight for a better world for my child. That’s what a good-enough parent is meant to do, isn’t it?
I started off writing this
in a spirit of celebrating International Women’s Day 2012 – I end up throwing myself forward with the Suffragettes. They are my mentors – even though I won’t pretend to know exactly how they all thought & acted.
Tomorrow I’ll calm down
& write more measured argument… I’ll apply forensic skills to the so-called logic of my apparent opponents. Today is a day for passion & honesty.
That’s why I’m with 5050. If you’re with us – join up. We have a lot of work to do.