Thursday, April 29, 2010

Women, women everywhere

Sometimes you have to wonder what planet people are living on. Take for example Fiona O'Malley's contribution to the Seanad debate on women's participation in politics. She proposed two ballot papers in each of 60 constituencies, one with men's names and one with women's. Yes it guarantees equality of the sexes in the parliament but it also pretty much guarantees a landslide victory for one party over the rest - it is most likely that both candidates returned from each constituency will be from the same party. It also throws out any idea of proportionality which is one of the major benefits of our current electoral system.

The concept of quotas also brings up the under-representation of lots of other groups in the Dáil. Why isn't there a requirement for the age profile of TDs to be in line with the results of the most recent census? Why don't we have to have a number of TDs representing the unemployed, the sick, atheists, left-handed people? Sure women as a group have gotten the short end of the stick since the dawn of time, but I don't think that stuffing the parliament with them for the sake of appearance will fix it.

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