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32nd Dail must make progress on women’s equality

Published: Friday, May 06, 2016

• 4 women appointed to Cabinet, the same number  as 2011
• A missed opportunity by An Taoiseach to honour pre-election commitment to a 50:50 Cabinet
• Former NWCI Chairperson and former NWCI CEO hold Cabinet positions

Following the announcement of the Cabinet for the 32nd Dail, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) called on the 32nd Dail to make meaningful progress to advance women’s equality.

Louise Glennon, Women in Leadership Officer at NWCI said,
“With women appointed to four Cabinet positions, this number remains the same as the number appointed in 2011, and means at 27% of cabinet seats, we have yet to breach the critical mass of 30%. NWCI are disappointed that following the election in which the gender quota has ensured a historic number of women elected to the Dail, this number is not higher, and caution the need to accelerate the pace of change for women’s participation in leadership. Only 17 women have been appointed to Cabinet since Countess Markievicz became Minister for Labour in 1919, and this was an ideal opportunity for Enda Kenny to fulfil his pre-election promise to appoint a gender balanced Cabinet. We urge the Taoiseach to ensure 50:50 Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs, and 50:50 appointments to State boards.”

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,
“NWCI extend its congratulations to all the women appointed to Cabinet, and to Regina Doherty in her new role as Chief Whip. In particular, we extend our congratulations to former NWCI Chairperson Frances Fitzgerald on her appointment as Tanaiste, and her reappointment as Minister for Justice and Equality. In her previous term, she was instrumental in driving gender quotas at Cabinet level, and ensuring Ireland signed the Istanbul Convention on Violence Against Women. NWCI also congratulates former NWCI CEO and longtime feminist and equality activist, Katherine Zappone on her appointment as Minister for Children, and look forward to working with her to ensure the implementation of feminist policies at government level.”

Orla O’Connor concluded,
“NWCI looks forward to working with TDs of the 32nd Dail, in ensuring the advancement of critical issues of women’s equality, including a publicly subsidised childcare model, a repeal of the 8th Amendment, an end to men’s violence against women and economic independence for women.”

For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, 085 86 19 087.