As chairperson of the Vótáil100 committee which is organising the celebrations around the 2018 centenary of women's suffrage in Ireland, I am delighted that we will have so many exciting events and exhibitions taking place in Leinster House. The first year that Irish women had the right to vote and run in parliamentary elections was 1918. Over the course of 2018, the Houses of the Oireachtas will commemorate this important centenary with a programme of cultural, historical and educational events marking the work of the suffrage movement in Ireland going back to the early 19th century.
Our programme will celebrate the lives of the women most closely involved in the campaign leading up to legislative reform and will also focus on the representation of women in parliament, leading up to the present day. Although we have recently achieved a significant increase in women's representation following the introduction of gender quotas for the 2016 general election, women remain greatly under-represented in the Oireachtas. Today, there are only 35 women out of 158 TDs in the Dáil (22%) and only 19 women out of a total of 60 Senators (32%). Clearly, much more needs to be done to bring women forward in politics. We hope that our Vótáil100 programme will encourage and inspire more women to become politically involved, and will remind us all about the importance of the right to vote.
More information available on the Oireachtas website here: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/visit-and-learn/votail-100/