Throughout the world, regardless of geography, the lack of women in political leadership positions is a common theme.
In Ireland, the percentage of women elected into Dáil Eireann in 2007 was just 13% and the percentage of women elected into local councils in 2009 stands at around 17%. Ireland ranks only 23rd out of the 27 EU countries for the percentage of women in parliament.
The difficulties that women still face in politics are real, with few women role models and limited mentoring opportunities or support. The Women in Leadership Network aimed to prepare women to run in future elections to boost the number of women in public office. With the right mentoring and training, Benedicta wanted to provide women with the supports and skills required to succeed and stay in the male dominated world of politics.
Benedicta has personal experience of Irish politics as a candidate in the local elections of 2004 and 2009. She worked to develop a non-partisan political training resource to be used for training, mentoring and supporting young women to take the leap into active citizenship, political participation and leadership.
The Network hosted meetings with Mairead McGuiness and Nessa Childers MEp in 2010 in order to support young women in further engagement in politics. While the network is no longer in operation, similar initiatives are taking place worldwide to increase the proportion of women involved in politics. Benedicta is now the secretary of Etsako East Local Government Council (SLG) in Nigeria.
There is no true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives.