Women have a wealth of experience and wisdom to bring to politics - O'Sullivan

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM

JanOSullivan_minister - Jan O'Sullivan TD
Jan O'Sullivan TD

Why isn't politics attracting more women and what practical steps can be taken to get more women involved were two areas discussed by Minister of State for Housing and Planning Jan O'Sullivan at the recent McCluskey Summer School.

“What are we doing and what do we need to do to make the jump from 20th out of 27 EU states in terms of women’s political representation to get near the top of the pile?  Progress has been lamentably slow.  The election of the first woman President, Mary Robinson, in 1990 and the rise to 20 women (14%) in the 1992 General Election were signs of hope but there was minimal change in the three subsequent General Elections with numbers up to 22, then 25, now 26 following the Meath East by-election. To look at it the other way, in the history of our democracy, men have always had 85% or more of the seats in parliament, elected by the people, of whom 50% are women.  If this was a geographical rather than a gender imbalance there would be revolution!  Without decisive action, we could be waiting generations for equality.  The argument for quotas is a no-brainer.”

 Jan also addresses the current crisis of democracy and talks about reclaiming politics for the citizen.

“I think this is the right time to start a debate on reclaiming politics for the citizen.  We are at the start of recovery from a horrendous recession that has brought hardship across our communities.  Now is when we start to shape the Ireland we want for the future.  Women must take an equal part in that process because we certainly don’t want to replicate the macho culture of greed and individualism that characterised the excesses that brought us to our knees.  Women need to take centre stage in this debate.” 

You can read Minister O'Sullivan's speech in full in our media centre. 

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