Thursday 22 August 2019

Number of female councillors in Wexford is well below the national average

Women in politics Wexford.
Women in politics Wexford.

By Esther Hayden

Wexford falls well shy of the national average when it comes to political female representation.

Only 12 per cent of Wexford councillors are female while only 14 per cent of the candidates in the 2014 local elections were women giving Wexford a fairly dismal ranking of 25th and 29th nationwide respectively.

Despite the low figure the proportion of women councillors is actually up two per cent on the 2009 local election.

The figures have been released by Women for Election who is marking International Women's Day which takes place on March 8 by issuing a report card for the major political parties as the focus turns to candidate selection for the general election. Major parties must select 30 per cent of women for the general election or face financial penalties. The Report examines how many women were on the ticket in 2014 nationally and in each local authority, who was elected and provides a detailed party breakdown and comparisons with the last elections in 2009. Wexford now ranks 25th nationally for female representation.

Speaking about the Report Card, Women for Election Co-Founder Michelle O'Donnell Keating said: 'Women for Election are marking International Women's Day 2015 with a Report Card that focuses on the number of women selected and elected in 2014 as a means of urging the political parties to prioritise women when selecting candidates for the upcoming general election.

'The local and European elections in May 2014 represented a milestone in Irish politics. Women made up an historic high of 22 per cent of all candidates and now make up an unprecedented 21 per cent of elected councillors - a 33 per cent leap from 2009.

'Women for Election were pleased to be able to play such a significant role, with 50% of those women elected at local government level having come through one of our training programmes. Two of the three newly elected female MEPs likewise benefited from training, support and mentoring from Women for Election.

'Wexford was far below the national average for candidates with 14 per cent of women selected and 12 per cent of women elected. This means that Wexford now ranks 25th nationally in the rankings of female representation. However there is some positive news that the proportion of women councillors is up very slightly at 2 per cent from 2009.

'It is evident to Women for Election that the parties need to look closely at Wexford to increase the upward trend. We know that there is no shortage of women within party ranks and elsewhere in terms of members and activists to select for the general election. The talent is there but it is up to the parties and others to bring it forward.

'As we approach the next general election, Women for Election has demonstrated that there is a pipeline of talented able women ready to take the next step on their political journey and given the support, training and mentoring their chances of success are significantly heightened. The theme for this year's International Women's Day is 'Make it Happen' - Women for Election are excited to be playing our part.'

Wexford People

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