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Leo’s new cabinet

If our Taoiseach thinks this is a diverse cabinet, then we have a problem


Written by Laura Gaynor | View this authors Twitter page and posted in opinion


This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact editor@spunout.ie.


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At 22, I have become cynical enough of Irish politics that I can filter out most of its absurdity. I know intellectually that there is a link between my life and our politics though unanswered emails to politicians and lack of youth-friendly policies would lead you to question this.

I passively accept Irish politics until it becomes a sort of ironic joke. And so, I merely shrugged my shoulders when Leo appointed his 80% male cabinet.

This was until I saw a video posted today by a Facebook page called “Women For Election”.

Our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar appeared in this video where he spoke about the need for 'diversity' and 'more women in politics'.

This seriously frustrated me; seeing as two weeks ago, Varadkar was given the chance to directly influence the position of women in politics by means of picking his cabinet. Leo actually appointed even less women ministers than our last cabinet of ministers had.

Our Taoiseach claimed that there weren't enough women to choose from, and this I feel is untrue. There are 35 eligible female TD's in the Dáil. These are all elected representatives who were voted by their communities as capable of leadership. Surely these could have been worthy contenders?

And worse still, to appoint such a cabinet and to then have the audacity to say it is a 'very diverse' one makes it even harder to stomach. 

This is because it ignores and minimises the issue of representation. There is indeed huge diversity within the male division, but how can seven women ministers truly represent the 2.3 million women of Ireland? And of course, technically - women are not even a minority; in our last election there was in fact more women than men

Men can say what they want, but they cannot pretend to be experts or have personal experience of women's issues in areas such as jobs, housing or health.

Ireland is below the European average for female political representation, and until this is rectified I believe that there should be quotas introduced to bring us at the very least, to the EU average of 26%. It should not be left up to a male Taoiseach to determine the future of women in Irish politics. If Leo Varadkar truly wants to make Ireland "the new European centre", then he needs to take it into the 21st century.

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Published June 27th, 2017
Tags leo varadkar gender politics
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