SHE OPENS GATEWAY INTO LOCAL ELECTIONS FOR WOMEN IN RURAL IRELAND

Dec 10, 2023 | Featured Articles

With just a few months remaining before the 2024 Local Elections in June, See Her Elected – the award-winning government funded programme which supports women from rural Ireland to become county councillors – is continuing its series of workshops and live radio training in preparing women to put their names on the ballot papers.

Currently only 242 (26%) of Ireland’s 949 elected city and county councillors are women, with the lowest numbers mostly felt in rural Ireland. For example, counties such as Offaly, have only two female councillors out of 19 elected representatives on the council, Monaghan and Longford County Councils  have only two women out of 18 councillors, Donegal County Council has only four female councillors out of 37, while Mayo County Council has only two women in the chamber out of 30 councillors.

The See Her Elected (SHE) programme, which is funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, runs both online and in-person election workshops in addition to the ‘Introduction to Politics’ workshops. ‘SHE’ also collaborates with local authorities and secondary schools to address the stark under representation of women in local politics in rural Ireland.

SHE Programme Manager Dr Michelle Maher said that the organisation has opened a gateway and created a path into local politics for women all over rural Ireland. She said that this has been achieved through a series of free online ‘Fast Track to Election’ workshops which focus on canvassing, campaign, and communications strategy.

“The workshops take place at three different times of the week to fit in with the busy lifestyle of women. As well as targeting prospective local election candidates our workshops are also open to campaign managers or any women who would like to support other women to get elected,” note Dr Maher.

“We also run monthly mentoring clinics to address specific queries or topics as requested by the prospective local election candidates. Within the past few months See Her Elected has also collaborated with numerous local authorities and PPNs throughout the country to deliver the ‘Introduction to Politics’ workshops and seminars,” she added.

These workshops have been run in collaboration with Fingal County Council, Louth Local Development Company, with the support of Leitrim Library Service, to roll out these workshops. Dr Maher explained that they are aimed at women who would like to learn more about politics, or any women who are new to the country and would like to learn more about how the Irish political system works.

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