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Latest News Archive 2009 - 2015

July 2014
The Assembly Executive Review Committee in the Northern Ireland Assembly has recently begun a review focusing on Women in Politics and the Northern Ireland Assembly, and would welcome submissions from interested parties. The deadline is 3 September 2014. More information can be found here.

Joan Burton TD was elected leader of the Labour Party in Ireland on Friday 4 July 2014. She beat her rival, Alex White TD with a 78% share of the votes cast. All members of the party were entitled to vote in the election. She is the first woman to be leader of the Labour Party since its foundation in 1918. She will now become Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) in the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government, and will embark on a reshuffle of the Labour cabinet members. For more information on her election as party leader, click here.

May 2014
'The Girl-The Woman: Beyond Global and Generational Borders' research project , part of the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities, will be hosting a research symposium on the 22-23 May 2014 on the theme of Generational Borders. This symposium will follow directly on from our first event in January - which focused on girlhood - to explore the construction of female identity through the idea of generational borders. This will be understood in its broadest terms to include the contextual determinants of the transition from girlhood to womanhood, the voice and experience of girls living in transition and the relationship between different generations of girls/women, specifically how girls and women experience and understand the same context. This will illuminate what it is to be a girl and a woman in particular social, cultural and political contexts. These contexts include rural life and farming, sexual and reproductive health, and living in a conflict society.
Our keynote address will be by Paula McFetridge, the Artistic Director for Kabosh Theatre Company NI. Drawing on an extensive theatre archive, Paula will take us through powerful representations of girls' and women's experiences enacted in different Kabosh's productions. The keynote address will close the symposium by presenting generational borders in the context of theatre: from the battle against the stigma of women and girls living in sheltered accommodation and the female experiences of social exclusion, to the remarkable lives of women leaders from around the world. The keynote will be accompanied by live performances from the plays.Please click on the links for the full programme including speaker biographies and registration details, the Keynote Address flyer, and for more information on 'The Girl-The Woman' research project, including people involved and future events.

In advance of the approaching local elections in Northern Ireland, click here to view CAWP's preliminary analysis in relation to Gender and the Northern Ireland Local Elections, 2014. For more detail on the gender of candidates at NI 2014 Local Elections - Data by Council, click here.
A briefing paper by the Northern Ireland Assembly entitled: 'Candidates for the 2014 Elections in Northern Ireland by Gender' can be accessed here. All of the analysis shows that the larger parties are - on this occasion - actively selecting more women to stand than previously. All bar the UUP have around 30% female candidates - the generally accepted minimum standard. That women comprise only 25% of candidates overall is due to the male orientation of smaller parties and independents.

March 2014
On International Women's Day, CAWP wants to see more women included in democratic politics. Read our soundbites at the 'Alternative Ms Ulster' event in Parliament Buildings, Stormont, on 8 March. This was a great event, organised by Clare Bailey, former CAWP student and now researcher for Stephen Agnew MLA, Greeen Party NI. Click here for CAWP statements.

January 2014
'The Girl-The Woman: Beyond Global and Generational Borders' research project , part of the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities, will be hosting a research symposium on the 15th - 16th January 2014 on the theme of Global Girlhood. The keynote address will be by Dr Dr Sinéad Morrissey, the first Belfast Poet Laureate and entitled: 'The girl-the woman': a reading of selected poetry'. Please click on the links for the full programme including speaker biographies, an information flyer on the keynote address and for more information on 'The Girl-The Woman' research project, including people involved and future events.

April 2013
The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has mentioned the importance of last year's 'How to Elect More Women in Northern Ireland' conference on their website. For more information click here and to view a copy of their publication, 'Gender Equality in Elected Office: A Six-Step Plan' please click here.

February 2013
Professor Yvonne Galligan and doctoral candidate Fiona Buckley participated in the Irish Convention on the Irish Constitution on February 16-17. This is a 100-person deliberative forum advising the Irish government on constitutional change. The focus of this Convention meeting was Article 41.2 on women in the home, and more generally women's participation in public and political life. Professor Galligan was called before the Convention as an expert witness. Ms Buckley addressed the Convention in her capacity as 50:50 Campaign spokesperson. After extensive deliberation on these matters, the Convention voted to radically alter the 'woman in home' article (88%). It favoured changing the language of the Constitution to be gender inclusive (89%) and there was almost unanimous support for the State doing more to encourage women's public/political participation (97%). All results and associated material available can be found here.

October 2012
A TEDxBelfastWomen event will take place 1 December 2012 on the theme of ‘the Space Between’. The Space Between, explores how women are less likely to approach subjects from a black-or-white perspective as they see the gray area in between. For more information please follow this link.

August 2012
Bronagh Rice has carried out some research with young people in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to gauge their perceptions of, and explanations for the under-representation of women in politics in Ireland. She has then analysed what these views and explanations mean for the future of women's political participation. Her paper can be accessed here.

July 2012
Women's representation in Irish politics is finally set to grow, thanks to the passing of legislation on candidate gender quotas. At present, women hold only 15% of the seats in the Dáil, the lower house of parliament. This legislation ensures that at the next election in 2016 - the anniversary year of the Easter Rising - women will be assured of a greater presence in the Dáil. Speaking on the passage of this historic law, Director of the Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics, Professor Yvonne Galligan said: 'This is a great day for the women of Ireland, and for Irish democracy. Women can now become lawmakers, with men, in greater numbers. While it does not guarantee a gender-equal Dáil, this law is a step in the right direction. I congratulate the Minister, TDs and Senators for enacting this long-overdue provision. And congratulations to the many women, and some men, who campaigned for this measure knowing that it was the only effective way of breaking the pattern of resistance to selecting women candidates. The members of 50:50 Group, the National Women's Council of Ireland, and many others deserve great credit for their political and public championing of this issue.'

The Dáil debate can be viewed here.
Information on Longford Women's Link can be found here.

On Thursday July 19, the long-awaited legislation on candidate gender quotas for general elections will reach the final stages in the Irish parliament (Dáil). The provisions are included in a wider Bill addressing reform of party funding. The Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill 2011 provides for a 30% gender quota for party candidates at the next election, rising to 40% seven years thereafter. Non-compliant parties will risk financial penalties.

June 2012
The Women in Public Service Project (WPSP), co-founded by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. State Department and five leading women's colleges - Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley - announced today that it is joining forces with the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars. Two weeks ago, Secretary Clinton opened the WPSP inaugural Institute at Wellesley College, saying: "Around the world, we are hoping to help correct the gender imbalances in public service, not just by working at the top, shattering those glass ceilings, but also at the grassroots level by training and supporting women who have the talent, who have the will, but sometimes not the opportunity to become effective leaders in their nations." Recently, CAWP Director Professor Yvonne Galligan and Research Fellow Dr. Victoria Montgomery met with Professor Paula Rayman to discuss CAWP's participation in the Women in Public Service Project. CAWP is delighted to be part of this vital international initiative. Further updates to follow. For further information about the Women in Public Service Project and its programs, please click here.

April 2012
The School of History and Anthropology are hosting a conference on the Life and Writings of Helen Waddell (1889-1965) on 11-12 May 2012. Helen Waddell was amongst the first flood of women graduate from Queen's University and is one of Queen's most well-known alumni. The programme including registration details can be found here.

Scottish Local Elections looks like 'more of the same' for women, according to politics experts Fiona MacKay and Meryl Kenny. In a study of women's participation in the 2012 local elections, they show that women comprise only one in four candidates. They also show that 56 local wards (1 in 7) are all-male contests. Further discussion can be found here.

February 2012
In time for International Women's Day, we welcome the publication of a new report on gender and democratic decisionmaking, available online here. Deliberative Processes and Gender Democracy: case studies from Europe is a publication of the long-running RECON project funded under the FP7 programme. Edited by Professor Yvonne Galligan, the report shows the inbuilt weaknesses in democratic decision-making from a gender equality point of view. Investigations of decision-making are carried out for the European Union (Clavero and Galligan), Austria (Gresch and Sauer), Greece (Papageorgiou), Hungary (Vajda), Lithuania (Matonyte and Bucaite-Vilke), Poland (Zielinska) and Spain (Clavero). These chapters are accompanied by an overview discussing the comparative conceptual and methodological analysis (Galligan) and a chapter on the theoretical lessons to be drawn from the studies (Holst). The collection reveals that the achievement of gender equality in the EU is contingent on the institutional framework, the disposition of key participants, and the genuine inclusion of women in law-making.

The Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) have produced a good publication which may be of interest entitled: Gender-Sensitive Parliaments: a global review of good practice by Sonia Palmieri. This report can be accessed here.

On February 2, 2012 the Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill 2011, containing provision for candidate gender balancing at general elections, was introduced in Seanad Eireann by the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD. It proposes to remove one-half of state funding for the lifetime of a Dail from parties that do not select a minimum 30% female candidates at the next general election. Professor Yvonne Galligan, Director of CAWP was in the Seanad public gallery to witness the introduction of the Bill. She said: "This Bill, for which CAWP has campaigned, finally sees the light of day. It will ensure that women will no longer be severely under-represented in Irish parliamentary politics. It is heartening to see cross-party consensus on this issue. This is an historic day for democratic politics in Ireland." The text of the debate is available here

The remainder of the debate on the second stage of the Electoral (Amendment) Political Funding Bill 2012 was taken in the Seanad on Tuesday 9th February. The discussion focused mainly on the candidate gender special measures. The debate is reported here.
The Committee stage will take place on Tuesday 14th February.

December 2011
On December 16, the draft legislation on political party funding and candidate gender quotas was published by the Irish government. The Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill, 2011 provides for a 30% gender quota for party candidates at the next election, rising to 40% seven years later. Non-compliant parties will risk financial penalities.
Professor Yvonne Galligan, Director of CAWP, welcoming the bill said: 'This measure will finally break the glass ceiling of political representation for women in Ireland. It is the one area in which women have made hardly any progress over the last decade, compared to their advance in all other professions and careers. The bill will require parties to give the voters a gender choice at election times. With this bill, Ireland is following a global trend, as half the countries in the world use some form of gender quota for elections to their parliament.
The 30% provision is very attainable. QUB doctoral candidate, Fiona Buckley, has calculated that at the 2011 election just one more female party candidate in 38 of the 43 constituencies would have delivered the 30% quota.
This measure will add to the efforts currently underway to encourage women into political life. The work of Women into Public Life, Women for Election, Longford Women's Link Manifesto Group, among others, are supporting women across Ireland to become involved in political decision-making. The 50:50 campaign is lobbying for equal representation of women with men by 2020.
When this bill is passed, Ireland will be well on its way to joining the top 20 countires in the world for gender equality in political life.'

July 2011
Centre for Women and Democracy report on the impact of the UK government's legislative programme on women's representation, and other news relevant to women and politics in the UK is available here.

May 2011
As we await the results of the elections in Northern Ireland, it is interesting to note that in upcoming polls in Tunisia, there will be equal numbers of male and female candidates. More information here. Also, in Armenia the Prime Minister has ordered the government to look at a draft law to promote greater representation of women in central and local government and the National Assembly.

A recent Fabian report has forecast the complete demise of Liberal Democrat women in the House after the next election. The women MPs have mostly been able only to get selected for very marginal seats. As the Fabian report puts it, Party Leader Clegg's majority in Sheffield is about the same as all the LibDem women MPs' majorities combined. More information on this report can be found here.

April 2011
Invitation to Hustings Event:
'Voting for Gender Equality in the Northern Ireland Elections' Wednesday 6th April at 7pm in The Space, Queen's University Students' Union.
This event which will be chaired by CAWP Director, Prof. Yvonne Galligan is your opportunity to ask candidates in the upcoming Assembly election how their parties intend to tackle existing inequalities. More information available here.

March 2011
The final result in Ireland's 2011 general election saw 25 women being elected to the Dail, 2 more than at the 2007 election. Commenting on this outcome, Professor Yvonne Galligan, Director of CAWP congratulated the successful women candidates on winning seats in a hard-fought campaign. She went on to say "the absence of any woman among the 20 Fianna Fail TDs returned to parliament is something that party must urgently address. Indeed, the low representation of women in the Dail must be tackled as part of the wider push for political reform." View a summary of how women fared in the election here.

Data from the Central Statistics Office in the Republic of Ireland shows that women are under-represented in decision-making structures at both national and regional levels. In 2010, only 14% of TDs in Dail Eirrann were women, while they accounted for just over a third of members of State Boards, less than a fifth of members of locla authorities and just over a thrid of the membership of Vocational Education Committees. Women and Men in Ireland, 2010 is available on the CSO website

Reviewing the document Towards Recovery Programme for National Government 2011-2016, CAWP Director, Professor Yvonne Galligan welcomes the provisions supporting gender balanced representation. There is much still to be done, though, to deliver on the commitments of the Fine Gael-Labour government. CAWP supports the initiatives of the 50:50 Group, the National Women's Council of Ireland, Claiming our Future and the Political Reform Group in working to make these promises a reality. Read a more detailed summary and analysis here.

We now turn to the elections in Northern Ireland. The DUP is running 44 candidates in the NI Assembly Election due on 5 May 2011. Seven are women: Paula Bradley (North Belfast), Ruth Patterson (South Belfast), Michelle McIlveen (Strangford), Arlene Foster (Fermanagh & South Tyrone), Brenda Hale(Lagan Valley). Pan Lewis (South Antrim) and Evelyne Robinson (North Antrim). Women make up 16% of the DUP candidates.

February 2011
The Irish general election is in full swing and the list of candidates is confirmed. Women do not fare well, despite gender imbalance being a major talking point in the campaign. Overall, women comprise only 15% of the 566 candidates. Although a record number of independent candidates - 235 in all - are putting their names before the voters, only 25 of them are women. The five main parties do not show an overall increase in women candidates - 18.4% as compared with 18.7% in 2007. One could correctly interpret this as no advance at all. The best record was back in 1997 when women made up 19.8% of candidates. A table on candidacies by party and gender is available here. Mary Minihan has an excellent overview article on the subject in the Irish Times

Professor Yvonne Galligan, CAWP Director, opened the Sligo Institute of Technology conference on Reimagining Irish Political Culture on Friday 11 February 2011, stating, "Diversity is the key to reimagining Irish political culture. The inclusion of women and their views is one element in this process of change. Today's political crisis can be the seedbed of a genuinely inclusive and accountable democracy." Group Photo here.

January 2011
On the 5th January 2011, the Polish parliament passed a gender quota bill aimed at increasing women's participation in politics. This means that at least 35% of the party lists for the lower house of parliament must be women. The legislation does not apply to the upper house of parliament. Currently women make up 20% of the lower house and 8% of the upper house. The next elections are scheduled for Autumn 2011.

A new year has brought the news that the three finalists for the Politician of the Year award in Northern Ireland are all women:

Dawn Purvis for her integrity, work on PAC, position she took on UVF, stance on double-jobbing
Naomi Long for East Belfast result and local commitment
Margaret Ritchie for symbolic act of wearing a poppy and not doing a pact with Sinn Féin. Also strong on child sexual abuse

CAWP would like to support all three women and hope that this encourages more women into politics in Northern Ireland. The awards will take place on 10 February 2011. More information can be found here.

October 2010
On 1st October, CAWP Director, Professor Yvonne Galligan was a guest speaker at a seminar considering the current situation of women in public life in both the North and South of Ireland and how their under-representation can be addressed. The seminar organised by Women into Public Life also had Ms. Eileen Sung (Head of Gender & Sexual Orientation Equality at OFMDFM) and Ms. Pauline Moreau (Director of the Gender Equality Division, Department of Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affair) as speakers.

A new recently launched organisation, The Irish Feminist Network, is a network of women and men promoting gender equality across all aspects of Irish society. The launch which was attended by around 100 people included speakers such Senator Ivana Bacik, Anthea McTiernan and Susan McKay. To read a copy of journalist Anthea McTiernan's speech on Women in the Media, please click here. For more information please see the IFN website, or IFN can also be accessed on Face Book and Twitter.

September 2010
The EU strategy for gender equality, 2010-15, was published on September 21st. The strategy spells out a series of actions based around five priorities: the economy and labour market; equal pay; equality in senior positions; tackling gender violence; and promoting equality beyond the EU. Speaking on the launch of the Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015, Professor Yvonne Galligan said 'CAWP welcomes this new plan, and we are particularly pleased with the attention to the need for more women in economic and political decisionmaking.'
Access the strategy document here

Women's Studies in University College Cork (UCC) in conjunction with the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI) Gender Politics Specialist Group present a one-day conference: Moving in from the Margins: Women's political representation in Ireland. Saturday, 18th September 2010, University College Cork. More information and registration form available.
This conference was organised by QUB Doctoral candidate, Fiona Buckley, along with Dr. Sandra McAvoy (Women's Studies, University College Cork) and was a huge success. Attended by over 100 participants, the conference in UCC was opened by Mary Whyte TD, Minister for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. A range of speakers, including current or former Senators and TDs, spoke of ways to increase women's presence in Irish politics. CAWP director, Professor Yvonne Galligan, addressing the meeting, said "Voters should expect to have a number of women candidates to choose from in their constituency, just as they can choose from the array of male candidates on the ballot. The only way to expand voter choice is for the parties to introduce gender quotas for candidates." Fiona Buckley's doctoral research is on women in the political executive in Britain and Ireland. She also convenes the Gender and Politics study group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland. More information and speaker biographies available here. Photo 1; Photo 2; Photo 3; Photo 4.

June 2010
The Second European Conference on Politics and Gender (Budapest, 13-15 January 2011) has issued a call for papers, deadline June 18, 2010. More information can be found here.

May 2010
David Milliband, the front runner for the Labour leadership met with the women's PLP in the Commons on the 24th May, and set out his determination to increase the number of women MPs if he wins the leadership. For more information please follow this link.

The Women and Politics Group of the Political Studies Association have launched their Women and Politics blog. The blog is currently discussing women's representation after the UK general election.

Follow this link to view a very interesting clip featured on the Channel 4 News after the UK elections asking why so few women are in government/politics in Britain. The clip features interviews with Lesley Abdela of the Electoral Reform Society, Baroness Williams and Michelle Donelan MP. It also gives some cross country comparisons of women's representation.

Tara Keenan-Thomson launched her new book, 'Irish Women and Street Politics, 1956-1973' in The Naughton Gallery in Queen's yesterday (4th May 2010). Her book explores women's political activisim in Ireland from 1956-73 and includes interviews with Mary Kenny and other prominent activists who challenged the gender contract in the two jurisdictions. it is published by Irish Academic Press Ltd.

The Northern Ireland Women's European Platform invites you to listen and discuss on the issue of the Beijing Platform For Action. For more information, dates and locations for May 2010, please click on this flyer.

April 2010
Director of CAWP, Professor Yvonne Galligan, addresses the Australian Houses of Parliament on "Thinking about Gender and Democracy" on Friday 23 April. Photo of Professor Galligan and Dr. Rosemary Laing, Clerk of the Senate. Photo of Professor Galligan with Dr Laing and Mr Cleaver Elliott, Deputy Clerk of the Senate.

A debate on women's representation will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 27 April in the Irish Senate. When the debate is online, CAWP will provide a link. For more information, please see the Oireachtas website.
This debate resumed on 19 May 2010 and the transcript can be found here.

Wikigender is a project initiated by the OECD Development Centre to facilitate the exchange and improve the knowledge on gender equality-related issues around the world. It can be accessed here.

March 2010
On Monday 15th March 2010, Professor Yvonne Galligan addressed the Trinity College Dublin Historical Society, debating the motion "This House Believes that the Modern Irish Woman has No Need of the Women's Movement". The debate, in the beautiful Exam Hall, was chaired by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland. The "Hist" is the oldest undergraduate debating society in the world, founded by Edmund Burke in 1770. Yvonne proposed the motion, and Susan McKay, chairperson of the National Women's Council of Ireland, was among those opposing the motion. Photo (Yvonne Galligan). Photo (Mary Robinson).

Fiona Buckley, whose doctoral research is on women and political leadership, discussed sexism in Irish politics in the Sunday Tribune (14 March 2010). You can read her article here. Fiona's research is supervised by Professor Yvonne Galligan and Dr. Alistair Clark

CAWP would like to wish you all a very Happy International Women's Day!
To mark International Women's Day the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is presenting a week-long factblog examining the social and economic status of women.

February 2010
Professor Yvonne Galligan will address the annual conference of the Civil Service Women Managers Network on the subject of enhancing women's role in public decision-making. The event takes place in Dublin Castle on Friday 12th February.

Congratulations to Margaret Ritchie on her election as the new leader of the SDLP!

January 2010
CAWP would like to congratulate Arlene Foster, winner of the women parliamentarian of the year 2008, on her appointment as First Minister (interim). Her appointment means that she becomes the first female head of government in the UK devolved parliamentary assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and she also becomes the first female head of government among the two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland.

September 2009
CAWP has run another successful Next Generation Leadership Programme. The programme scored an excellent 100% satisfaction rating by the participants. Our next course will run 18-22 January 2010 and we are now accepting applications! Please click on our Next Generation page for more information, photos and an application form.

April 2009
Prof. Yvonne Galligan and Sara Clavero of CAWP, have published an article in the Public Service Review: European Union - Issue 17. Entitled 'Minding the Gap', the article examines how gender demoncracy is being supported in Europe. The article can be accessed here.

A research seminar in Contemporary Irish History entitled, 'Because You're Worth It: Thekla Beere and the Value of Women in Irish Public Life' by Dr Anna Bryson will take place at 4pm on Wednesday 29 April 2009 in the IIIS Seminar Room, C6002, Level 6, Arts Building, Trinity College.

February 2009
CAWP are thrilled to announce that our Director Yvonne Galligan is now Professor Yvonne Galligan!!

Following a presentation by visiting Professor Kathleen Knight (Columbia University, New York) on 14 October 2008, entitled 'Gender Jujitsu: The Media Dilemma over US Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin', both Kathleen and CAWP Director, Prof. Yvonne Galligan were interviewed on the popular current affairs programme, Hearts & Minds about women in politics. A podcast of this is available here. It is also available in mov and flv format. CAWP would like to thank the BBC and the programme producers of Hearts & Minds for permitting us to link this section to our website.

January 2009
Johanna Sigurdardotti has been appointed the interim Prime Minister of Iceland. She is the first female PM of Iceland the first openly lesbian head of government in the world.

Morocco is currently working on a Charter for electoral conduct. In discussions the parties have confirmed their commitment to better women's representation and have agreed to the creation of all-women's shortlists.

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