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Minister: 'It is a disgrace there are so few women in politics'

Frances Fitzgerald told TheJournal.ie that we live in an “unfinished democracy”. She also has concerns about the Dáil’s reform agenda if the Seanad is abolished.
May 6th 2013, 8:00 AM 5,026 109

(YouTube: Thejournalvideo)

WOMEN AND POLITICS have traditionally not mixed. In fact, Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald believes politics alienates a lot of women.

In a recent broad-ranging interview, the Fine Gael deputy told TheJournal.ie that she thinks Ireland has an “unfinished democracy” because there are “so few women” in the Dáil.

“I think it is a disgrace…and I think it takes from the discussion in here,” she said. “Any place where there isn’t equality – where there isn’t at least a 30 per cent representation of women – isn’t getting the full story on any issue.”

She claims the quota system during party selection ahead of elections “should make a difference”, calling it a “really good initiative”.

“Being selected has been very difficult,” she recalled. “I think also…the adversarial nature of politics, a lot of women aren’t very attracted by it.”

Childcare provision, access to money and support systems can also be deterrents, she continued.

Politics needs women. It is like the church, if the church was smart, they’d have a lot more women involved.

The Minister also has concerns about Dáil reform if the Seanad is abolished following a referendum later this year.

“If you are abolishing the Senate, you really have to reform the Dáil and the Dáil has to be seen as a more effective place than it is at present.”

See more here:

(YouTube: Thejournalvideo)

More from TheJournal.ie’s ministerial interviews:

Ruairí Quinn on religion in schools, third-level fees and Margaret Thatcher’s funeral

‘Nothing on the table’ to provoke teachers’ strike, says Minister

Traditional, conservative groups recognise homophobic bullying

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Sinead O'Carroll

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