Today I took part in a radio panel discussion talking about International Women’s today – we spoke about the potential impact of the gender quota legislation currently going through the Oireachtas. At the moment 15% of our T.D’s are women – we have 166 members of the Dáil, which is our primary house of parliament, only 25 of which are women (and yet this is the highest number of women elected since the foundation of the state). Of the 15 cabinet members only 3 are women, 2 Ministers and the Attorney General. During the programme we spoke about the five c’s: the barriers to women going forward for election confidence, cash, candidate selection, culture and childcare. We also talked about how, for example, 85% of national school teachers are women, and yet only 17% of school principals are women. We talked about how as long as childcare was seen as a women’s issue we would never have gender equality.
Refreshingly, nobody equated gender with parenthood. The panel was made up of women of different ages, interests and experiences. What we had in common was that we are all women. Whether or not we also happen to be a mother is only one aspect of our gender and our identity.
Happy International Women’s Day.