Minister John Paul Phelan
Following the approval by Government, at its special meeting on International Women’s Day, 8 March, of practical measures to address the current imbalance between women and men in local government, John Paul Phelan, Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform, today announced funding of almost €200,000 for specific initiatives to achieve this objective.
“In the 2014 local elections, only 21% of candidates elected were women, placing Ireland well behind the EU28 average of 32% for female representation in local politics. The low participation of women in local government is most acute in rural areas. We need to address this deficit in representation and, starting in this local election year, we need to begin the process immediately," he said.
“In developing these initiatives, my Department has worked closely with key stakeholders, Women for Election, the National Women’s Council of Ireland and Longford Women’s Link. I am pleased to be able to provide funding support to these organisations as they work towards our shared goal of increasing the number of women in local government." he said.
The Minister has approved continued funding this year for Women for Election for their activities in training and capacity building of women candidates of all political persuasions, particularly in advance of the local elections on 24 May 2019. Women for Election will also receive funding for their special social media campaign to promote the participation of women in the 2019 local elections and in local government generally.
The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) will receive funding to host a number of events to mark the 120th anniversary of local government in Ireland. The 1899 local elections were the first time that any women in Ireland had the right to vote and stand for election. These commemorative events will explore and celebrate the role and importance of women in local government, drawing lessons and experiences for today. NWCI will also receive funding to conduct substantive research involving women in elected office and the experiences of women running as candidates in this year’s local elections.
The funding announced today is distributed as follows:
· €110,000 to Women for Election for their training and capacity building activities for 2019.
· €28,000 to Women for Election for a social media video campaign to promote the participation of women in the 2019 local elections and the role of women in local government. The campaign begins this week on @women4election (#MoreWomen).
·€27,240 to Longford Women’s Link/5050 North West for training courses and a promotional campaign for women specifically in rural areas.
· €13,794 to National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) for promotional events surrounding the 120 anniversary of Local Government, including at a local level.
· €15,015 to NWCI to conduct primary research into the experiences of women in local elections.
· Other measures, including the funding scheme to incentivise political parties to field more women candidates in the 2019 local elections and initiatives at Council level to support Councillors with family and caring responsibilities, are separately underway.