There is an urgent need for more women to be supported to enter politics, according to Irish campaigners, as Ireland drops even further in the world gender equality rankings.

In February 2021, Ireland was placed 101st in the latest world rankings for the number of female parliamentarians. Ireland is lagging far behind countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and China and just ahead of Panama and the Ukraine. 

Women for Election say there is a clear and pressing need for more women to be supported to run for the next local and general elections.

Currently only 23% of TDs are women and there are no women on 40% of Cabinet Sub Committees. Women only make up on average 25% of local council seats, despite accounting for over half the population. 

On a local level, women represent 10% of Donegal County Councillors, with four out of 37 elected representatives being female.

Women for Election are urging more women to take part in their specialist online training programmes which are designed to inspire and equip women to enter and succeed in Irish politics.

Caitríona Gleeson, CEO of Women for Election, says “Diversity in representation, leads to better decision making. Ireland clearly needs more women in positions of leadership particularly in our local councils and in our Dail to help improve our lives and communities across Ireland.”

Women for Election (WfE) believes a gender balance in politics will strengthen our government and is therefore encouraging women from a diversity of backgrounds to put themselves forward to lead the change within their community and beyond. There are currently more Michaels elected to Mayo County Council and more men called John elected to Waterford City and County Council, Offaly County Council and Carlow County Council than there are women.

Gleeson said: “It is important that all political parties scale up their recruitment plans to prepare women candidates for the 2024 local elections. However, we also need friends, colleagues and volunteers to support women to run for election. Research shows us that women are more likely to run if they are asked many times, so I would encourage everyone to find at least one woman in their community who inspires them, ask her to run and then ask again and again while also signposting her to the training programmes that are currently available online.” 

Women for Election is facilitating a comprehensive timetable of online training and events for the Spring of 2021. WfE’s Flagship training, the INSPIRE Campaign School, will be running on a Tuesday evening for three consecutive weeks, starting on the 23rd of February. Each session will cover a key building block, moving women closer to making the steps to changing the face of politics.

The first session is on Confidence on Tuesday the 23rd of February from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Confidence has been named as one of the key barriers to women entering politics. Followed by Communication on the 2nd of March and Campaigns on the 9th of March.

These sessions are designed to inform, equip and inspire participants by giving them the practical tools they need to start their political journey. To find out more details, please contact or visit