The 50-50 Group Seeking Equal Political Representation

50 per cent of Ireland’s population is female. Yet, little over 22 per cent of the Dáil consists of women. This places Ireland 82nd (out of 189 ranked positions) on a world classification list compiled by the Inter- Parliamentary Union (2017)[1].

Our Vision of Change

Gender parity in Irish politics

 Who we are?

  • The 50-50 Group is a single issue national advocacy group dedicated to achieving equal representation in Irish politics.
  • The 50-50 Group is a fully inclusive organisation and politically non-aligned provided parties support gender equality.
  • The 50-50 Group welcomes both men and women as members.
  • The 50-50 Group endorses both male and female candidates who support measures to redress the under-representation of women in the Irish Parliament (Oireachtas).
  • The 50-50 Group believes that the under-representation of women in Irish politics is an affront to the democratic ideals of justice and equality.

 What we do?

  • Advocate for the implementation of measures to redress the gender imbalance of Irish politics.
  • Support the Candidate Selection Gender Quota legislation adopted by the Oireachtas in 2012. This requires all political parties in receipt of state funding to select at least 30% women candidates and 30% male candidates. This was recommended by the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Women in Politics which reported in November 2009.
  • Lobby to extend the legislative gender quota to Local Elections by amending the Electoral Act 1997, Art 17 Sec 3, to allocate state funding to qualified parties based on their first preference vote at the preceding general electionand the preceding local election (e.g. 60-40 split). This would allow for a minimum 30% gender quota for the 2019 local elections and 40% for the 2024 local elections.

 Why gender quotas for local elections?

  • Analysis of Irish elections reveals that previ­ous experience in local office is a key springboard to higher office for both men and women[2].
  • However, few women have an opportunity to harness their local office experience and associated skills (such as building local networks and enhancing name recognition) as men are over-represented in Irish local government. Currently men make up 79% of local councillors.
  • Not all political parties are successful in meeting voluntary gender targets. For the 2014 local elections, neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael reached their self-imposed voluntary gender quotas of 33% and 25% respectively[3].
  • International research shows that the adoption of electoral gender quotas is associated with increases in the overall quality of female and male politicians elected and those women elected via a gender quota are no less qualified than their non-quota colleagues[4].

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[1] (accessed 8 November 2017)

[2] Fiona Buckley, Mack Mariani, Claire McGing, and Timothy J. White (2015) ‘Is Local Office a Spring­board for Women to Dáil Éireann?’ Journal of Women, Politics and Policy Vol.36, No.3, pp. 311–35.

[3] Just 17% of Fianna Fáil’s candidates were women. The corresponding proportion for Fine Gael was 23%.

[4] For example see: Paulo Júlio and José Tavares (2017) ‘The Good, the Bad and the Different: Can Gender Quotas Raise the Quality of Politicians?’ Economica, Vol 84, No 335, pp. 454–479 and Allen, Peter; David Cutts and Rosie Campbell (2016) ‘Measuring the quality of politicians elected via gender quotas – are they any different?’ Political Studies, Vol. 64, No 1, pp.143-163