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Women’s Council calls for gender balanced Cabinet and majority women Taoiseach’s Seanad nominations

Published: Saturday, June 13, 2020

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) today called for a gender balanced Cabinet and for the Taoiseach’s nominees to the Seanad to be all women, or at least majority women and all Taoiseach’s nominees should reflect the diversity of Irish society.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“This is a unique opportunity to increase the number of women in senior positions in politics. With just 30.6% of Senators being women so far, and just 22.5% women in the Dáil, progress to date has been shamefully slow, and women cannot afford to wait for equality. We are calling on the Taoiseach to appoint a gender balanced Cabinet, and also ensure that the women and men appointed as Ministers will promote women’s equality over the next Dail term. The last two Cabinets saw women appointed to just four senior Cabinet positions, and means at 27% of cabinet seats, we have yet to breach the critical mass of 30%. Only 19 women have ever been a Cabinet Minister, and this is our opportunity to promote more women to senior decision making in politics than ever before.”

Orla O’Connor continued,

“It is crucial that the Taoiseach’s nominees to the Seanad are all women, or majority women, and that the all nominees reflect the diversity in our society. In recent weeks, a spotlight has been shone on institutional racism in Ireland, and it is clear that our current Oireachtas is majority white, and we have never had a Traveller voice in the Seanad. This is a real opportunity to ensure our Oireachtas reflects the diversity in our society, and both Eileen Flynn and Salome Mbugua, who ran for the Seanad this time, would be important voices for equality and for women.”

Orla O’Connor concluded,

“The next Oireachtas has the potential to shape our lives for the next five years. It is crucial that we now see the Cabinet, Dail and Seanad prioritising policies of women’s equality. Significant investment in public childcare is required, to have a real impact on childcare costs for families. There are significant and immediate challenges to challenging men’s violence against women that require both urgent investment and political leadership. Meanwhile, we must ensure women’s voices are at the table when discussing our Covid-19 recovery.”


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