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No breakthrough for women in Local Elections - it’s time for gender quotas

Published: Tuesday, May 28, 2019

NWCI today welcomed the increased number of women elected as Councillors in the Local Elections but is very disappointed about the missed opportunity to break the critical barrier of 30% of women’s representation in Local Government.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“We saw more women running in the local elections than ever before and I congratulate all of the successful women candidates. It is very positive to see more women from diverse backgrounds being elected. They will be a critical voice in Local Government.

However, it is very disappointing that in 2019, we still have not broken the critical mark of 30% women’s representation at local level. While we are awaiting the final results, it is clear that women will only make up around 23 % of Councillors, up from 21 % in 2014. At this pace of change, it will take over a decade to achieve the 30%.

While a record number of 566 women contested the elections, up from 440 in 2014, they only made up 29% of all of the candidates.  In rural areas, women made up 22.8% of candidates as opposed to 35% in urban areas.  Addressing the deficit in rural areas requires concrete actions and measures.”

She continued,

“The Local Elections are a critical pipeline for elections at national level.  We know that when women are on the ticket, people vote for women. It is very clear that the incentive approach from the Government is not working, as the largest parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, failed to run 30% women as candidates. As was the case with the general elections, a gender quota for Local Elections is a necessity if we are serious about achieving gender equality in political - this could be monitored by the Electoral Commission.”


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, Tel. 085 858 9104, silkep@nwci.ie