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Fine Gael's Regina Doherty, Josepha Madigan and Heather Humphreys pictured at the launch of the Centenary Programme to Commemorate Voting Rights for Women in 2018. Sam Boal/Rollingnews
gender imbalance

Fine Gael has the lowest percentage of female candidates running in the election

At least 30% of a party’s candidates in general elections must be women.

AMONG THE POLITICAL parties contesting the General Election, Fine Gael has the lowest percentage of female candidates. 

According to Women for Election, an Irish non-profit organisation which trains and encourage women to enter politics, the percentage of Fine Gael candidates who are female stands at 30.5%.

Women for Election CEO Ciairín be Buis said Fine Gael “just scraped” over the quota which operates at a national level, with other parties not doing much better – Fianna Fáil (31%), Labour (32%) and Sinn Féin (33%). 

Currently, at least 30% of a party’s candidates in general elections must be women. This will rise to 40% in 2023.

Parties can lose State funding if they don’t reach a minimum threshold of female candidates.

“We urged all parties to aim for at least 40% women candidates on the ticket and most of them fell well short of the mark,” be Buis said. 

More promising were People Before Profit (38%), the Green Party (41%), and the Social Democrats with 57% of women on the ticket, figures be Buis says shows there is “plenty of women who are politically engaged, active and ready to run out there, right now”.

“You’d have to wonder why the other parties cannot recognise this fact,” she added. 

According to data collected by Maynooth University elections expert Adrian Kavanagh, 162 of candidates contesting the election are women (30.5%) and 369 of the candidates are men (69.5%).

“While it’s very welcome news that there is a woman running in every constituency, for the first time ever, we need to be more ambitious than that,” Ciairín de Buis said. 

“Women aren’t a minority group, we are more than half the population – and political parties need to wake up to the fact that we need political leadership which represents us all.”

Women For Election run training programmes for women interested in politics and for women who want to be a candidate.

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