Only 42 women elected to council in 26 years
A WOMEN’S Caucus by South Dublin County Council that will empower and entice women to be politically involved is set to launch on International Women’s Day as it is revealed that there have only been 42 women councillors in 26 years.
The motion to establish a Women’s Caucus was passed on International Women’s Day (March 8) last year after it was brought to the floor by Fianna Fáil councillor Emma Murphy for Firhouse – Bohernabreena.
The caucus will be an apolitical group at council level for elected members of the council past and present to come together and focus on the barriers and challenges that women in elected office face.
The Women’s Caucus will be officially launched in person on this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8.
“It was agreed that any women who have ever represented South Dublin County council will be invited to it, which is what we have done,” Cllr Murphy told The Echo.
“Something that was so invaluable to me when developing our work plan was speaking to women who had previously been councillors.
From 1995 and all the way through there has been 30 women who have represented South Dublin County Council and I wanted to know their experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Since the motion was passed last year, it has taken a year to get funding and to establish the caucus and the chair and vice chair were elected last week, with Cllr Murphy as chair of the Women’s Caucus and Fine Gael councillor Vicki Casserly elected as vice chair.
According to Cllr Murphy, since being established in 1995, there has been a total of 42 female councillors for South Dublin County Council.
“It is a very low number, considering that we have got 40 councillors elected every five years,” said Cllr Murphy.
“I put the list together and I was just shocked when I got to 42, I was expecting so many more.
“I want the caucus to be a kind of support network where councillors could actually come and say ‘look, I have an issue with childcare’, or ‘I have an issue with administration or IT’ and that type of thing.
“We want to build a network of support and development for women to stay, as retainment is a massive issue as well.
“We don’t want any more women walking away from politics – we don’t want people leaving for reasons that can be fixed.”