The need for greater diversity and more female representation in politics was highlighted at a special event to mark International Women’s Day which was held in Longford Golf Club over the weekend. The multicultural event which was organised by the Midlands Polish Community and supported by Longford County Council saw members of different ethnic communities coming together to highlight female empowerment and leadership.
The new Polish translation of the See Her Elected Guidebook to Running in the Local Elections 2024 was also launched on the night in a bid to encourage more women from the Polish community to engage with electoral politics. Women from different ethnic minorities were also encouraged to sign up for the Register of Electors to make their voices heard in the next local elections.
Communications Manager with See Her Elected Mairead O’ Shea and Cllr Uruemu Adejinmi, Cathaoirleach of Longford Municipal District were two of the guest speakers on the night while there was a wonderful display of music, dance and creativity from various different ethnic communities. Organiser of the event, Barbara Stachowska co-ordinated a fantastic multicultural event and was also the instrumental force in making the See Her Elected guidebook translation into the Polish language a reality.
Communications Manager with See Her Elected Mairead O’ Shea encouraged more women from ethnic backgrounds to engage with politics and she praised the work of Longford Women’s Link and CEO Tara Farrell as mangers of the SHE project. Speaking about the under representation of women in politics in rural Ireland, Mairead O’ Shea highlighted the fact that only 26% of councillors in Ireland were women. “Only 2 out of 18 councillors in Longford are women while there is only one woman councillor on Offaly County Council, 3 out of 18 on Leitrim County Council and 4 out of 18 on Roscommon County Council. The first woman councillor in Longford was Madame Francoise Edgeworth of Edgeworthstown House who was elected to Granard Rural District Council in 1899 and was one of the first female councillors in Ireland,” said Mairead. The Communications Manager also highlighted the fact that only 6 women had been elected to Longford County Council since 1925.
“That’s only 6 women elected to Longford County Council in almost 100 years, 11 women in Roscommon since 1925 and 14 women elected to Westmeath County Council since 1925 so the statistic don’t lie,” said Mairead. She also highlighted the fact that you don’t need to be an Irish citizen to register to vote in the Local Elections or to run as a candidate and she urged everyone to sign up to the Register of Electors to ensure more balanced decision making at county council level. Mairead also pointed out that Dr Michelle Maher, Project Manager with See Her Elected had prepared a booklet for Longford County Council ‘Connecting Women to Local Government’ which contained lots of valuable information on the structure of the county council and the PPN networks. See Her Elected also runs a series of online workshops and classes to engage women in politics and a revision course is set to run on April 9th.
Cllr Uruemu Adejinmi, Cathaoirleach of Longford Municipal District explained that she was originally from Nigeria and was honoured to be a voice for the people of the Longford area. Cllr Adejinmi urged women to make their voices heard by getting on the Register of Electors and she complimented the range of diversity and creativity on display at the event to mark International Women’s Day. “It was particularly fitting to hear the Ukrainian national anthem and folk songs being sung here tonight and the Irish people stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. It reminds us of the importance of democracy and having your voice heard, “said Cllr Adejinmi.
Musical entertainment on the night featured a wonderful display of diversity with music, song, dance and contributions from Ukraine, Ireland, Poland, Pakistan and Libya. Copies of the Polish translation of the See Her Elected Guide to Running in the Local Elections 2024 are available to download free of charge from www.seeherelected.ie or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 086 0320455. You can also join the mailing list for See Her Elected to find out more about upcoming courses and workshops.