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The Labour Party published its Electoral (Gender Parity) Bill today (See RTÉ for details) which will cut state funding to party who dont put forward a certain percentage of female candidates. From what I see from my expeirence in political parties, that when women put themselevs forward for candidature they invariable get selected, not because women vote for them but because men vote for them! I attended conventions for three electoral areas for the upcoming local elections and a woman did not put herself forward for election.
Its not for lack of support within Fine Gael, there is a strong womens group within Fine Gael and there is a large number of female officers on the various boards in Cork FIne Gael (As well as two female Councillors on Cork City Council) so to me there is very little political opposition to women candidates. The biggest downfall for women candidates is actually the female vote. Women dont vote for women, according to a study I read before Older Men are more likely to vote for women then women are!
Gender quota’s wont work, they lead to token women candidates who have no opportunity to get elected. Also bringing in a bill like this challenges how parties select candidates. For example in Fine Gael, it is members in the constituency that get to vote and choose the candidate, this bill will take that power away from locals and put in the hands of head office. Something which hasn’t worked to great effect for Fianna Fail.
Any gender parity is a no hoper in my opinion.