Making History: women stepping up to change Ireland

The Social Democrats have made history by having the largest ever percentage of female candidates declared for a General Election in Ireland. As a significant political party in the Irish system, they are unique in fielding a slate in GE2020 which features a gender split of 55% female and 45% male.

Co-leaders Catherine Murphy & Róisín Shortall said they have not found any difficulty in finding ambitious, talented and determined women to put themselves on the ticket because the Social Democrats had fostered a culture of support and encouragement alongside putting in place some very practical supports such as childcare at party events.

Róisín Shortall said:

“We know women can offer so much to the political system, yet the bigger parties struggle to barely hit the, already low, gender quota of just 30%.  In the Social Democrats we have an abundance of very impressive women from every demographic, across Ireland, working with us to create a politics that is truly more representative of Irish society, and an Ireland that works better for everyone.”

Cllr. Carly Bailey, the party’s Dublin South West General Election candidate who was first elected to the council last May and who is running in her first general election, said:

“My own personal family experience of losing our home to a vulture fund led to me seeking solutions to help support others suffering because of political decisions that were being made about our lives.

“Through the Marriage Equality and Repeal campaigns, we saw the power of people working together collectively to effect political change. With the Social Democrats I have worked with like-minded people, supporting each other, to help shape politics to reflect all of society’s voices and not just those with traditional ties to established politics.”

Catherine Murphy said:

“The Social Democrats are proof-positive that when women are given the opportunity, on an equal footing, to participate in politics then they are more than eager to step up to the challenge.

“It is a great honour to be the first major political party to break the 50% mark for female candidate but equally it is a sad indictment of the more traditional parties in Ireland that it has taken so long to get to this point and that it should still be seen as something unique.”

25th January 2020

Note: The Party ran 59 candidates in their first local elections in May 2019 of whom 33 were women.

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