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Dublin: 14°C Monday 2 August 2021

Can Fianna Fáil entice more women by holding bootcamps?*

*No, not the muscle kind.

Image: Shutterstock/Blend Images

GENDER QUOTAS WILL come into force for the next general election, in an effort to address the dearth of women in Irish politics.

The quotas mean that 30% of a party’s candidates must be female. If they don’t step up to the plate, the parties will fall foul of funding cuts.

The legislation also requires parties to have 40% or more female candidates after a further seven years.

There are more female TDs in Ireland than ever before – but that means just 27 out of 166 deputies are women.

In the local elections in May 2014, there was a 30% jump in female representation on local councils. But Ireland is about 90th in the global rankings when it comes to female political representation, the Inter-Parliamentary Union says.

Those who are or were in positions of power have been outspoken about what they perceive as the negative side to being both a politician and a woman – Regina Doherty described it as a “culture [that] takes you in, chews you up, spits you out and expects you to bounce back up tomorrow morning in a pink frock and look wonderful”.


Fianna Fáil has just announced its latest effort to boost the numbers of FF women running in the next election.

It has scheduled an election bootcamp for 7 March at Dublin’s Dean Hotel (which has been described as “so hipster it hurts”). It says this bootcamp “is one element of the party’s roll-out of activities arising from the Markievicz Commission Report”.

It’s not your typical bootcamp though – instead of lifting weights, it will involve workshops by guest speakers on the skills required to win political campaigns, says the party.

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD said:

“The workshop marks the important next step of our campaign to support women who are interested in becoming involved in politics. Fianna Fáil is determined to lead the way in facilitating a new generation of women to become politically active.”

Read: Nine of 17 State arts boards have hit gender balance quotas>

Read: Deeply, deeply misogynistic’: Women share their experiences of life in politics>

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