Cllr Emer Costello, Chairperson of Dublin City Council’s International Women’s Day Working Group has called on the Government to take positive action to ensure women’s equal participation in the decision making processes at all levels of political life.
Speaking at the launch of the Group's research report “Every Step of the Way – Women Accessing Power in Dublin City” which was held in the Civic Offices on the eve of International Women’s Day, Cllr Costello called for positive action to ensure that more women would be in a position to stand for election in winnable electoral wards. Cllr Costello noted that of 188 countries Ireland ranks joint 87th with Barbados and Jamaica in terms of women’s representation in democratic structures.
The Dublin City Council report highlights that just 20% of the members of local authorities throughout the country are women. While Dublin City Council fares slightly better at 29% this figure is still woefully short of equal participation of 50%. Moreover, Cllr Costello stated that it was both astonishing and lamentable that the City Council’s Corporate Policy Group (CPG) is currently entirely comprised of men.
Cllr Costello noted that 15 Councillors (6 women and 9 men) resigned from the Council since the Local Elections in 2004. However, the six women accounted for a whopping 40% of the women elected to the Council, while the 9 men accounted for just 24% of the men elected.
The International Women’s Day Working Group was established by Dublin City Council to “promote women’s participation in the political, economic and social life of Dublin City”. The Working Group commissioned research into the role of women in the decision-making structures in the City – at political, management and community level.
The findings of the report make interesting reading.
§ Women comprise 29% of the Councillors on Dublin City Council
§ Women are not currently represented on the important Corporate Policy Group
§ Women account for just 31% of the membership of Strategic Policy Committees
§ Women make up just 29% of the professional grades in Dublin City Council
§ While 54% of the administrative grades are women, just 30% of the Executive Managers are women (and there is just 1 Assistant City Manager out of 8).
§ Women account for just 12% of General Operative Staff and just 3% of the Fire Brigade.
Cllr Costello has called on Dublin City Council to establish the IWD Working Group on a permanent footing to oversee and monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the report, which include conducting a gender audit of employment within the City Council, funding women’s groups and promoting participation of women in local decision-making structures, encouraging women councillors to become political role models in their local areas and developing an educational programme for schools.
The IWD Working Group needs to be established on a permanent basis to oversee the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report and to ensure that International Women’s Day is permanently etched into the political, social, economic and cultural calendar of the City, concluded Cllr Costello
If you would like a hard copy of the report, please contact me and I will send it out to you.