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Ireland is below the European average when it comes to having women in politics

A new report was published today looking into the political performance of women in the 47-nation Council of Europe.

File photo of the Oireachtas Women’s Caucus Group gathering for a photo on the Plinth of Leinster House this afternoon.
File photo of the Oireachtas Women’s Caucus Group gathering for a photo on the Plinth of Leinster House this afternoon.
Image: RollingNews.ie

IRELAND IS BELOW the European average in a number of key areas when it comes to the numbers of women in political office.

A new report was published today looking into the political performance of women in the 47-nation Council of Europe.

The report focused on the progress made by nations towards a goal set in 2003 of having at least 40% female representation in various positions of power.

This includes heads of state and government, ministers, leaders of political parties and members of national and regional parliaments, the judiciary and diplomatic services.

The report found widespread failings from countries in achieving this goal.

In total, only two out of 46 nations studied – Finland and Sweden – reached the 40% minimum target for women’s participation in lower or single houses of parliament (like Dáil Éireann) in 2016.

The average figure for this across Europe was at 25.6%. No country met the target for 40% of women in upper houses of parliament (like the Seanad).

Ireland’s performance 

In general, Ireland was below the European average when it came to women’s performance in politics, and significantly below the 40% target for representation.

In 2016, the lower house of parliament had 22% female representation, below the European average.

A total of 21.6% of women were in senior and junior minister roles, compared to the Europe-wide average of 22.4%.

Ireland had zero female party leaders in 2016, compared to the European-wide average of 14.8%.

The country fared better in terms of judges. There were 40% of women judges in High/Supreme Courts in 2016, compared to a Europe-wide average of 33%.

Ambassador positions were the least gender balanced, with just 13% female representation across Europe.

Read: Mary Lou McDonald on Dáil debate: ‘Playing the woman and not the ball is a tactic’

Read: ‘The right to do any job they like’: New book sets out a declaration for the rights of boys and girls

 

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