The 2012 passing of the Gender Quotas Bill by the Irish Parliament has resulted in political parties paying greater attention to the issue of female. This occurred during Phase II of the Women’s Manifesto Project, and resulted in greater engagement with local political representatives. In addition, Local Government Reform, enacted in 2013 has resulted in an intensive focus on female active citizenship as a core element of the programme.
GENERAL ELECTION 2016
Workshop for female candidates
A workshop for female candidates in the 2016 General Election took place Monday, 25th January 16 at Longford Women’s Link. Eight women, members of political parties and independents, from five constituencies participated in an experiential workshop.
Fiona Kearns, a communications consultant, focused on tips and techniques for communicating your message, managing difficult situations and speaking off the cuff. The workshop was experiential so participants had a chance to practise managing those tricky situations! Fiona also facilitated candidates sharing their own experiences and any lessons learned on the campaign trail so far.
(Fiona previously delivered a communications workshop for female candidates running in the 2014 local elections which candidates found most useful).
Johnny Fallon, the Longford based Political Analyst, spoke to candidates about managing the media and the key political issues that will face candidates on the doors.
General Election 2016 Hustings
A week before the general election on 26 February a hustings was organised at the Backstage Theatre, Longford. All election candidates in the Longford/Westmeath constituency were invited to participate in a panel discussion which was chaired by Sheila Reilly, Editor, Longford Leader. Ten candidates participated and there was a lively discussion on various topics from jobs to childcare, housing, transport and rural development issues.
Attended by over 80 people, many had an opportunity to put their question to candidates.
Out-Take Community Media filmed the event and recordings of the various themes in segments were posted on Youtube.
Local elections 2014
The 2014 Local Elections highlighted a significant urban-rural divide with females tending to fare better in the constituencies that took in the largest towns. Female candidates in rural areas accounted for just 18% in comparison to 25.8% in urban areas. Much research has focused on the barriers inhibiting women’s participation in politics and it is well recognised that a major block is candidate selection procedures within parties. 
 Women’s Participation in Politics. Second Report. Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights. October 2009.