Seanad debates

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Electoral (Amendment)(Political Funding) Bill 2011: Committee Stage (Resumed)


5:00 pm

Photo of Jillian van TurnhoutJillian van Turnhout (Independent)

I have listened to the debate on all sides of the House with great interest. I was very encouraged to hear so many supporting the view that even 40% is not enough and that we should aim for a ratio of 50:50 by 2020. My colleague, Senator Mullen, agreed with the principle of increasing female representation in politics and this is extremely encouraging.

The Bill is welcome and has the capacity to achieve transformation. However, this is not a new issue for us. In 2001, the European Parliament passed a resolution seeking a proportion of 40%. In 2003, the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers adopted a resolution stating representation of either women or men in any decision-making in political or public life should not fall below 40%. In 2008, the European Parliament showed that gender quotas have led to dramatic, remarkable and rapid increases in female representation.

I have listened to the debate. My difficulty is the time it will take for us to achieve a proportion of 40%. I reserve the right to reintroduce the amendment on Report Stage.


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