Urgent Action Needed on Women's Political Representation

8 March 2021

gender pay gap

Speaking in the Seanad today during Statements for International Women’s Day, Senator Bacik called for urgent action to be taken on women’s political representation.

Senator Bacik said

‘Today on International Women’s Day, it is very concerning to see that Ireland has slipped further down the international rankings for women’s representation in parliament. One year ago, Ireland was ranked 92nd in the world (www.ipu.org), but today we are listed at number 101; we have slipped outside the world’s top 100.

‘This is not because the numbers of women TDs in the Dail has fallen in the last year – since February 2020 there are 36 women out of 160 TDs or 22.5%. But it’s because other countries have taken positive action measures to address the ‘Five C’s’ – the obstacles we identified in a 2009 report on women’s participation in politics that I wrote for the Oireachtas Justice Committee.

‘Those five are: Cash, Confidence, Culture, Childcare and Candidate Selection Procedures. We need to see urgent action from this government to address these barriers to women’s participation.

‘In particular, the government should adopt a 50:50 principle in Cabinet appointments. And the government should move swiftly to ensure that Cabinet Ministers are entitled to maternity leave. There is no need for any constitutional referendum to provide for such leave, or indeed for parental or paternity leave for Ministers.

‘Article 28.12 of the Constitution provides that: "The following matters shall be regulated in accordance with law, namely, ... the discharge of the functions of the office of a member of the Government during his temporary absence or incapacity". Since maternity or parental leave is a temporary absence, legislation would be sufficient to address this. I call on government to move swiftly to address this matter.’