Lack of elected female politicians is of “serious concern for the wealth and well-being of the country”, according to Caitríona Gleeson, CEO of Women for Election.
The comments were outlined in a new report by Women for Election, More Women – Changing the Face of Politics.
The report highlights that Ireland is currently ranked 101st in the world for the percentage of women elected in national parliament.
“It is a significant tarnish on our emerging international reputation as a progressive and inclusive society,” Gleeson said.
“What these figures tell us is that when decisions are made about our lives, our homes, our communities and our businesses – the diversity and value of women’s contribution is missing.”
The report states that at present, 23% of TDs and 25% of councillors are women.
It says women are absent from 40% of critical government decision making tables, including health and the COVID-19 national response.
The report was launched in advance of International Women’s Day, 8 March, by Minister of State, Peter Burke.
For the report, women who contested local, European and general elections in 2019 and 2020 respectively, were interviewed.
Online abuse of female politicians is highlighted in the report.
An ongoing research study, Toxic tweets: female politicians, social media and misogyny, is referenced.
Of women members of the Oireachtas interviewed for the research study, 96% have received social media or electronic messages that used foul language or made an inappropriate comment about their appearance or intelligence.
Some 73% were threatened with physical violence via social media, 38% were threatened with rape or sexual violence and 28% said they had been verbally abused in public.
The report recommends that elected politicians be paid for maternity leave and that gender quotas be introduced at local and Seanad elections.
Gender quotas are already in place for general elections.
It also says a referendum should be held to allow remote voting and campaign financing rules should be reformed to facilitate additional childcare costs.
It recommends too, that criminal legislation should enable prosecution for online or other forms of abuse, including sexism, racism and misogyny against women who are running for election or who hold public office.