On Thursday June 15th, Women for Election launched their #MoreWomen campaign, in which they hope to raise €50,000 to train 300 women ahead of the next election. A panel discussion chaired by Sinead McSweeney of Twitter included Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald; leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan; Mayo Senator Rose Conway-Walsh; and TDs Catherine Murphy, Joan Burton, and Kate O’Connell.
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald described the current state of Irish politics as an “unfinished democracy when it comes to women.”
Joan Burton expressed her disappointment at the dilution of female representation in the new cabinet, and hoped to see more women in the future.
Catherine Murphy put it succinctly:
Your Dáil or your council should reflect your society. We [women] are not a minority.
Women for Election aims to increase female representation in Irish politics. As it stands, there have been more Seáns and Johns elected to the Dáil than women. According to research carried out by Caroline Kirrane, Adjunct Lecturer at Trinity College Business School, there were 99 Johns and 31 Seáns elected over the last century compared with just 114 women.
After the last election, thanks in part to gender quotas and to Women for Election’s programmes over the last few years, female representation in the Dáil increased from 15 to 22 percent. This year marks the fifth anniversary of Women for Election, and in that time over 1000 women have undergone political training with them.
Michelle O’Donnell Keating, chair and co-founder of Women for Election, says of their mission:
We aim to inspire women to consider a career in politics, to equip them with the tools and techniques to get elected and to inform them of the benefits of becoming more politically active.
The campaign has been live for almost two days and already almost €20,000 has been raised. Women for Election is offering a variety of perks for donating, including bags, beanies, and experiences.