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Niamh Gallagher & Michelle O’Donnell Keating

Women for Election

Alumni 2011

Women for Election
Joan Freeman
Krystian Fikert

Women for Election is an advocacy group whose aim is to increase the number of women running for election. They identify, train, support and empower women and work with them to get elected to both local and national government.

The Challenge

Women make up 52% of Ireland’s population, but they currently make up only 15% of our elected representatives. Increasing the number of women in politics is a long-standing challenge in Ireland, as the Dail has never been less than 85% male. Compared internationally, Ireland performs poorly, lying 20th out of the 27 EU member states for female political representation. These figures show that Ireland is failing to use its most vital resource: its people. The key barriers to women getting involved and succeeding in politics are identified as the five C’s: Culture, Cash, Confidence, Childcare and Candidate Selection.

The Idea

Determined to tackle the barriers to women participating in our political system, Niamh Gallagher and Michelle O’Donnell Keating set up Women for Election, a non‐partisan organisation whose vision is of an Ireland with balanced participation of women and men in political life. Women for Election offers a tailored programme of support to inspire, equip and inform women to run for political office. It will develop and nurture a cross party network of political women committed to equal representation of women and men, and undertake innovative campaigns focused on increasing the number of women at all levels in Irish politics.

The Impact

Women for Election will increase the number of women running for and winning elections by making sure political parties have competent, prepared female candidates putting themselves forward for selection. They aim to have 40% female candidates by 2021. Enriching the diversity of voices in our politics will lead to more robust decisions and help create a fairer, more inclusive and dynamic society that is better equipped to tackle future challenges.

Everybody benefits from balanced representation in political decision making: put simply, what’s good for women and girls is good for men and boys.

Niamh Gallagher & Michelle O’Donnell Keating

Niamh Gallagher & Michelle O’Donnell Keating, Impact Award, 2011

Niamh Gallagher & Michelle O’Donnell Keating: Women for Election Niamh Gallagher & Michelle O’Donnell Keating: Women for Election

Attendees arrive at Women for Election Inspire Programme in DublinInspire Dublin event gets underway

Attendees arrive at Women for Election Inspire Programme in DublinAttendees arrive at Women for Election Inspire Programme in Dublin


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