Women buck national trend in capital suburbs as they outnumber men for election

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Women buck national trend in capital suburbs as they outnumber men for election


Campaign trail: Councillor Deirdre Kingston
Campaign trail: Councillor Deirdre Kingston

Blackrock and Lucan are the areas with the most women candidates running for the upcoming local elections.

The former, in south Dublin, has nine women running compared with two men, while the latter in west Dublin also has nine women, competing against three men.

Dublin’s south-east inner city district and Wicklow’s Greystones were not far off top spot, with eight women running in each area.

Women account for 28.7pc of the total number of candidates declared nationwide ahead of the local elections on May 24, according to Maynooth University academic Dr Adrian Kavanagh. However, the two Dublin suburbs have bucked the trend.

Labour’s councillor Deirdre Kingston, running for re-election in Blackrock, said she was delighted to see “a great crop of women” running in her area.

“I think the quotas at general election level have had an impact,” she said. “Labour has a voluntary quota in place for the local elections and I think other parties should do the same to encourage women to put themselves forward.”

Councillor Ruth Nolan, for Independents4Change, is running in Lucan and said “past women have given us the confidence to go forward”.

“In a male-dominated profession, I’ve never felt like I was in a minority, I just get on with my job, but I’m delighted to see women becoming involved in politics,” she said.

There has been a steady rise in women running at local level over the past decade, with women accounting for 17.2pc of the total candidates in 2009 and 21.6pc in 2014.

Dr Kavanagh has been monitoring local election selection conventions and said the rise in female candidates was down to a number of factors.

“The rise has been notable since the gender quotas were first mooted for general elections. There are no gender quotas for the local elections, but if you’re a party and you need 30pc to run as female, or male, in the next general election, you need to be serious about running more females in the local.

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“The local election is usually the starting point for a Dáil career,” he explained.

“Various groups around the country have taken on the job of encouraging more females to enter politics.

“And, finally, we have the impact of the recent referenda, the Repeal the Eighth and the Marriage Equality. A lot of women may have been out campaigning for these issues and this may have inspired them to enter politics.”

But he said the “incumbency factor” may work against women in the election: “For the most part if councillors decide to run again, they’ll get in again. It is harder for new candidates to get in when sitting councillors run again and people are familiar with them and their work.”

Irish Independent


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