David Farrell (August 4, 2010)
In today’s Irish Times Mary Minihan reports on a survey of the existing women TDs about their views on gender quotas and the consensus is distinctly against any such move for Ireland. This is on the back of the recent report of the Joint Committee of the Constitution’s call for steps to be taken to increase the numbers of women candidates fielded by the political parties. The Joint Committee stepped back from recommending party quotas on the grounds that they might be unconstitutional.
International evidence demonstrates that women quotas are very effective in increasing the proportions of women parliamentarians. Indeed, Rwanda provides an interesting example in this regard. So, the fact that legal advice suggests that such a move might be unconstitutional here, and the fact that most existing women TDs don’t want them means that, not for the first time, Ireland stands out as rather quirky. Should the constitutionality question be tested? Should existing women TDs be allowed to block women quotas?