After recent events focusing on the issue of women in politics, a number of Cork Women have taken out the keyboard and written letters to Minister Mary White (Responsible for Equality in case you didn’t know) to highlight their disappointment with the low levels of female involvement in both local and national politics. Do you feel the same? Then why not write as well. We’ve reproduced their letters here which you can use as a template!
Letter from Colette Finn
Dear Minister White,
Your attendance at the ‘Moving in from the Margins’ conference in University College Cork was much appreciated. It is important that politicians from the Government parties are in support of greater gender equality in politics. One of the five C’s identified as inhibitors to female participation in politics is Candidate selection. The Dail Justice committee has examined this issue and has come up with all party support for the implementation of a maximum gender quota of seventy per cent in candidate selection.
In these recessionary times it isn’t often that politicians are able to action a measure that does not have any financial implications for the tax payer. The last twenty years has shown that good intentions will not lead to change on the issue of greater gender equality in political representation. Indeed there is no reason to believe that the situation will improve to any great extent.
There is an urgent need to deal with this issue and there is no time like the present. I would urge you to take action on this issue and face the electorate with a legacy of which to be proud.
Letter from Caroline Ni Phleimion
Dear Ms White
I recently attended the conference in UCC which examined female
representation in politics. Please find below an extract from an article
from The Irish Examiner dated 19 May 2009 which indicates temporary gender
quotos have succeeded in other countries.
Gender Balance in Irish Politics ranked worst in the world
In March of this year, the Labour Party launched its gender parity bill.
“Women are under-represented and we have to do something meaningful about
it,” says women and equality officer Kirsi Hanifin.
“We propose that unless all political parties put forward a certain amount
of women candidates, they should lose some of their state funding.”
According to Ms Hanifin, France, Belgium (Belgium went from 12% to 35%
female representation due to positive intervention enforcing parity among
candidates), Spain, Portugal and Slovenia, all have legislation which
obliges political parties to put forward a percentage of women candidates,
similar to what Labour proposes.
“We need a critical mass of 30%-40% for women to make an impact,” she says.
“Men make our laws and represent us. Women’s needs are not met unless women
are part of the decision-making process. We know the diversity of our needs women are the experts of their lives and need to be able to voice and act
on those needs.”