Tomorrow every chair in the Irish Dail Chamber will be filled by a woman!
Ahead of this week's International Women's Day, Women for Election will hold an event to celebrate women in politics.
Women for Election is an organisation that works with women across the country to help them enter into the field. It does this by running training and mentorship programmes, and matching future policy makers with different political parties.
Only 23 per cent of the Dáil is made up of female politicians. That places the country 100th in the world for gender inclusivity.
This is something Labour Party leader, Ivana Bacik says she has had to deal with this during her career in politics.
As Chairperson of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Gender Equality, Ivana is calling on the government to to hold a referendum on equality in 2023.
She believes there are certain parts of the Irish constitution that need updating:
"There should be no room for sexist language in our Constitution. It is time to delete text which refers exclusively to women and mothers as having a ‘life’ and ‘duties’ within in the home. Changing this offensive text will be of symbolic value in terms of moving away from the Ireland of old, in which women were subjugated by the State, and its institutions. This country has benefited immensely from women who worked hard at home, and from those who achieved greatness outside of it too.
The Constitution must also recognise the value of all caregivers. As such, the Committee proposed replacing the current text of Article 41.2.1 to: “The State recognises that care within and outside the home and Family gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.”
Ivana also brings to light the lack of protection for different forms of families in the Irish constitution. She is recommending this part of Bunreacht na hÉireann is updated to include different kinds of family units.
“Our report also recommended the adoption of a more inclusive definition of ‘family’, in recognition of the many diverse forms of family which exist in Ireland today. The restrictive definition which is in place now has exacerbated the different entitlements for married and unmarried cohabiting partners, and their children. Many people do not realise that the need to change the constitution is for socio-economic reasons, as well as just having a symbolic value. All families should be recognised and protected, not just those based on marriage."
All Female Dáil
Speaking on the importance of tomorrow's event Alison Cowzer, Chair of Women for Election said;
"Piling women in on the ticket isn't the answer, it's a question of working with women, supporting on their candidacy. Putting in place supports that ensure those women get elected. Because if we do really want to see change, it's very important to look at what we've got at the moment. It's a result of a hundred years of an unfinished democracy... We have a real diversity issue across the entire Oireachtas and not just in terms of the gender issue but particularly in terms of our migrant communities."
Fianna Fail Senator Fiona O'Loughlin is also looking forward to tomorrow's event. Speaking on her experience in politics, she revealed she had experienced some "resentment" from male colleagues when she first entered the field.
She believes in order to reach equality, those in Irish politics need to make it equitable, by providing more resources to up and coming female politicians.
This would be particularly beneficial to women in rural areas. While many Dublin council's are equally divided among men and women, the Offaly County council has only one minute. In addition to this, the whole of Munster has only three female representatives in the Dáil.