The Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act 2012 introduced a political gender quota in Ireland. Section 42 provides that political parties will have their State funding cut by half, unless at least 30 per cent of their General Election candidates are of each gender. This quota will rise to 40 per cent in 2023.
The Act has already begun to have a transformative effect on Irish politics. It was applied for the first time in the 2016 General Election, in which a record 35 women were elected to the Dáil out of 158 TDs (Teachtaí Dála or members). Women now make up 22 per cent of TDs for the first time; 16 per cent was the highest percentage previously achieved.
Experience elsewhere, and now in Ireland, clearly shows that, without enforceable legal targets or quotas, the numbers of women in politics will not rise. Without this landmark law, the work of the suffrage campaigners would not have been fully vindicated, and Irish democracy would have remained unfinished and incomplete.
The full version of this landmark is written by Ivana Bacik.
National Women’s Council of Ireland http://www.nwci.ie