Monday, June 26, 2017

C'mon lads, move over! Join the 50/50 by 2020 campaign!

Read the full article in Issue 56 - Winter 2016/’17 of ‘Changing Ireland’!
 Gender still a glaring issue and women now campaigning locally and nationally

   The boards of national sports organisations were put under pressure in December to improve the gender balance.
   Punitive measures were talked about for organisations that failed to reach a 30% female quota, with some politicians in favour and others opposed to penalties.
   Despite women and girls playing soccer, rugby and Gaelic games, only one woman sits on the executive commitiees/boards of the FAI, IRFU and the GAA combined.
   Together, these three bodies shared €7.4m last year from the State for youth development alone and they oversee thousands of games annually involving women and girls.
 The sole female - on the FAI’s board - is Niamh O’Donoghue, Secretary General of the Department of Social Protec on.
   These sports organisations are essentially not-for- pro ts, not unlike many of the groups operating in the Community and Voluntary Sector.
   It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that quotas could also be sought - or imposed as a condition of future funding - for the boards of community projects.
   The tables below - and indeed the photograph on the right of well-meaning and hard-working men (but so many of them!) - indicate how steep the challenge appears.
   But sometimes you can crest a hill almost before you know it. There is currently a campaign gaining momentum seeking more balanced representa on between the genders.
   The 50/50 advococy group seeks equal representation in Irish politics and encourages debate on the need for more women to engage in politics.
   Quite simply, they want fifty- fifty by 2020. Nationally: 50% of Ireland’s population is female, yet there are only 35 women in Dáil Éireann out o158 TD’s. That’s 22%.
   Ireland’s position globally: Ireland was ranked 76th out of 133 countries on a world classification list compiled by the Inter-Parlimentary Union last year. That marks an improvement - four years ago, Ireland was ranked 89th.

The 50/50 Campaign Group:

  • believes that the under-representation of women in Irish politics is an affront to the democratic ideals of justice and equality.
  • is a single issue national advocacy group.
  • is politically non-aligned.
  • has branches in Cork, Kerry, Dublin, Meath and the North West.
  • welcomes both men and women as members.
  • encourages the formation of affiliate groups at community level.
  • endorses both male and female candidates who support special temporary measures to redress the over-representation of men. 

50/50 Nationally:

Nationally, the campaign:
  • Raises awareness about candidate selection quotas, encourages more women to run, more people to campaign for women candidates and more people to support women candidates.
  • Challenges political parties to effectively implement the candidate selection on quota.
  • Monitors the progress and implementaion of the quota.
   Here’s how the situa on looks from Donegal. Only three out of 37 councillors in Donegal are women. Since 1918, only two TDs from Donegal have served in the Dáil since 1918 (namely Mary Coughlan and Cecilia Keaveney).


   Donegal Women’s Network (DWN) is long established and is typical of the groups that are members of the 50/50 campaign. DWN works to inspire community growth through:
  • Providing a friendly local support network to women in Donegal.
  • Advocating & promoting equality and women’s human rights. 
  • Highlighting the reality of women’s lives in Donegal.
  • Promoting and supporting women’s empowerment in Donegal.
  • Bringing local issues to a national level to influence policy-making.

       Currently, there are no women TDs representing Donegal, 
    Leitrim or Sligo in the Dáil.
       The North-West 50/50 group covers these three counties and is supported by individual women, DWN, the North Leitrim Women’s Centre and The National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks (NCCWN).
       Nationally, the NCCWN supports 17 women’s projects that seek to empower and support community-based women who experience disadvantage and marginalisation as a result of barriers to participation and lack of opportunities.
       The NCCWN is funded by the Department of Justice & Equality.

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