A Cork councillor has welcomed the news that Cork City Council has formed a Women’s Caucus to improve conditions for female politicians.
The Women’s Caucus has been established by six female members of Cork City Council.
The members of the cross-party group plan to work together to develop systems and processes to improve the ability of women to work in the political system.
Green Party councillor Colette Finn said she was part of the 5050 group which argued for candidate selection gender quotas to change the numbers of women elected into office.
“Only six out of the 31 councillors on Cork City Council are women. You cannot be what you cannot see. If young women don’t see women in politics, then they may think that politics has nothing to do with them,” she warned.
Cllr Finn said that women are “materially affected by politics and that the decisions that are made will impact on every aspect of their lives”.
“These impacts will be whether they can afford a roof over their heads, whether they can access affordable childcare when needed or how much they get paid in their chosen career,” she said.
The Cork North West councillor, who recently stepped down as Chair of Mná Glasa, a group within the Green Party to support women into leadership and elected office, expressed concerns that there is currently no maternity leave for politicians both at local and national level.
Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman recently announced that paid parental leave is to be extended to nine weeks for both mothers and fathers, telling the Irish Examiner that the mindset around the division of responsibility for caring for children must be changed.
Cllr Finn said that “systems where women can operate within the political system and dads are expected to share the work involved in child rearing” must be developed.
“They have the right and the duty to care for their offspring. True gender equality means the capabilities of both sexes are allowed to flourish and to be equally valued,” she said.