A message from Sinead Ahern, Chair of Labour Women
Hello and welcome to this edition of the Labour Women Newsletter. In the last few months Labour Women have been gearing up for the 2014 Local elections. Twenty-three women have been selected to run for Labour so far, which is nearly a third of the overall number of candidates selected. I had the opportunity to meet many of our women candidates at last month’s Labour Women ‘Bootcamp’ and was delighted to see such dynamic and capable women running under the Labour banner.
As we prepare for National Conference next weekend in Killarney, the headlines have been dominated by the news that Ireland will exit the ‘Troika’ bailout program on December 15th without a precautionary line of credit. While this marks the end of a dark period in Ireland’s history we still face significant challenges. Labour in government must continue their work towards growing creating jobs and building a sustainable and fair future for Ireland. Labour Women is committed to improving women’s participation in the labour market and this year at conference our focus is on ‘Women at Work’. Only 7.1% of women own their own business compared to over one in five men and our motion to conference is around providing supports to encourage more women to set up their own business. We will also host a workshop on ‘Women at Work’ taking place in the private dining room in the Brehon Hotel at 1.45pm on Saturday (just after our lunch so why not join us for both?) and I look forward to seeing many of you there.
Party Conference is an opportunity to socialise with other Labour Women, meet the executive and talk to us about what issues you think Labour Women should address. Labour Women will host a lunch for all our members at conference on the Saturday at 1pm in the Private Dining Room in the Brehon Hotel. You can also meet us at our stand in the conference hall or selling postcards across the venue.
Labour Women is committed to ensuring more women’s voices are heard in all facets of Irish society including in the media. This year at conference we will be asking our male colleagues to pledge not to appear on an all male panel. Two in three of the voices heard on radio news and current affairs were male and we are committed to redressing the balance. Come along to our stand to take the pledge!
With the local elections just six months away campaigning has begun in earnest and I have been out on the doors for the last number of weeks supporting our women candidates. While many of the people I met have suffered as a result of the financial crisis, the response on the doors has been far more positive than media commentary would suggest. Our biggest challenge in this election is ensuring we do not concede defeat before the campaign even begins. I am hopeful that as a party we can win the seats we need to continue the positive and progressive contribution made by Labour to local government over the last five years. We can only achieve this if each of us, as party members takes an active role in the campaign. I encourage each member of Labour Women to identify a female candidate near them and support them in any way you can whether that be canvassing, dropping leaflets, and fundraising or as a member of a campaign team. If you are looking to get involved in a campaign contact our Women’s and Equality officer [email protected].
Finally, Labour Women recently welcomed 3 new members on to our executive; Sinead Redmond, Eileen O’ Mahoney Bowe and Irene Allen. You can meet all of the members of the executive here http://www.labour.ie/women/about/
Enjoy the newsletter and I hope to meet you all in Killarney
Chair Labour Women