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Politics need more women

10 March, 2014 - by Megan Fearon

Sinn Féin Megan Fearon has welcomed a passing of her motion encouraging more women into politics.

 Speaking to the debate Ms. Fearon said,

 “I welcomed the all party support for my motion calling on us to do more to encourage more women into politics.

 “Women have been failed by the political system and we are still, underrepresented in politics, in public life and in business. Politics remains an unfriendly environment for women, a reality that benefits no one.

 “At present the population across Ireland is made up of 52% women yet in political life there is an average of 18%.  In the Assembly only 21 out of 108 MLA’s are women, which is just not good enough.

 “We need to create the conditions in society to allow women in positions of leadership to be seen as a social norm. The lack of women at the top cements the age old image of what leadership looks like; resulting in an Assembly that is too male, too pale and too stale.

 “Political parties must do more to encourage women:  Very few people break into politics without the support of a political party, but all too often women considering standing as candidates come up against old fashioned and sexist attitudes about the role of women in public life.

 “The most effective way to make this a reality is introducing mandatory quotas. Positive actions are the quickest and most effective way to ensure more equal numbers of men and women, and they force the break-up of elite circles of power – while allowing women in power to act as positive role models encouraging more women to take that leap. Quotas do NOT discriminate against men – they are simply a way to correct existing discrimination

 “We need to ensure women have their voices heard and that issues important to women and girls are given focus, we know that when this is the case there is better decision making and positive outcomes for all.”

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