Monday 1 March 2021

In advance of International Women’s Day on the 8th March, Peter Burke, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage today launched “More Women – Changing the Face of Politics”, a research piece undertaken by Women for Election.

Women for Election is a non-profit organisation that encourages and supports women in Ireland to run for politics and has been a long term partner of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, supporting the shared objective of increasing female representation in politics. This research undertaken by Women for Election forms part of an on-going strategy by the Department to investigate barriers and solutions which can increase female participation in local government.

Minister Rabbitte welcomed the research piece:

The work of Women for Election is to be applauded.  I welcome their outstanding work and the ongoing drive to female representation rise in politics in Ireland.

Minister Burke commended Women for Election for undertaking this research but also

for creating awareness of our local government structures through the delivery of training and mentoring programmes and establishing valuable networks for women who may be considering entering politics.

He added that

the support framework Women for Election builds has encouraged many women to enter the world of politics.

My Department will continue to work closely with key stakeholders, such as Women for Election, towards the Local Elections of 2024 to ensure that we can encourage more women to run in the local elections, and once there, to create an environment that allows them to succeed,” the Minister said.

As part of the research, Women for Election contacted women who contested (whether successfully or unsuccessfully) the 2019 local elections, 2019 European parliament elections, and the 2020 general election, as well as women who had unsuccessfully sought a nomination to run. Interview topics included the participants’ background, their journey into politics, their reasons for running, engagement with the candidate selection process, experiences of the election campaign and, for successful candidates, life as a public representative.

The Minister concluded,

Addressing the structural barriers that stop women from becoming involved in politics is something that must be achieved.  This valuable piece of research provides insight and will inform future policy and actions.  All discussion and research into these matter should be welcomed and encouraged.