Towards the 2011 general election: Where are all the women candidates?

By Claire McGing (on behalf of the PSAI Gender and Politics specialist group)

The recent failure of the talented Labour Dublin City councillor Rebecca Moynihan to win a nomination to run in Dublin South-Central in the upcoming general election (the three candidates who were selected are all male councillors) has once again raised questions about the lack of female candidates in Irish elections. Women have always been a minority in Irish electoral contests and subsequent sites of political representation. That is not to say that there are not other demographic deficits in politics – there is also a distinct lack of candidates and politicians from groups such as the youth, the working class, the disabled, etc. However, women make up 51% of the Irish population and cross-cut all other groups, yet not even a third of candidates for any of the parties in the last general election were female. Continue reading

Gender quota debate rumbles on – but are the two sides talking past each other? (Updated 18th August)

Sarah Carey’s article in today’s Irish Times is the latest contribution in the debate on  whether we should consider adopting party-level gender quotas for the nomination of candidates. This article appears to me to be a particularly striking example of the combative rhetorical strategies that both sides of the debate have employed. Several opinion pieces on this topic have followed the structure: I am for/against gender quotas – now let me tell you why they are wonderful/terrible.

Continue reading

Female candidacies in 2009 local elections

Claire McGing and Adrian Kavanagh (August 5, 2010)

A report on trends as to female candidate selection levels for the upcoming 2014 Local Elections can be viewed here.  

In light of ongoing discussion in relation to number of female TDs, this piece – a section from an article we wrote on last year’s local elections that we never managed to find a home for (sob!) – might be of interest as it gives an overview of female particicipation in electoral politics at a local level, with specific reference to last year’s contests.

17.1% of all candidates in the 2009 local elections were females. This figure marginally bucks the trend set over the previous two decades of increasing levels of female participation in local electoral contests, wherein female participation rates had increased from 11.0% in 1985 to 14.0% in 1991, 15.6% in 1999 and 18.1% in 2004. Continue reading

Final report of the Joint Committee on the Constitution launched today

David Farrell (July 22, 2010)

The Joint Committee launched its long-anticipated final report (relating to its deliberations over the electoral system) earlier today — running at over 200 pages, with 29 recommendations. There is lots to pick through, but for me the main headlines are the following:

  • The establishment of a Citizen’s Assembly to consider electoral reform
  • Centralizing and streamlining voter registration, with the use of our PPS numbers
  • Lowering voting age to 17 Continue reading