Increasing the Participation of Women and Diversity in Local Government
A programme set to be delivered by the Galway County and City Women’s Caucus to highlight the need for greater diversity and gender equality in local government
The Galway County and City Women’s Caucus will deliver a programme in the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe at the end of February, to progress activities to encourage participation of women and people of diversity in local government, as highlighted in ‘Programme for Government – Our Shared Future’, especially in areas where there are very low numbers of women involved in elected politics.
The overall aim will be to increase the participation of these groups in the 2024 Local Elections. This will be through the delivery of a 2 day programme, along with a half day online programme, that focuses on the following:
Working Towards the 2024 Local Elections: Training and development focusing on inclusion and diversity and an understanding of the political environment to support and encourage the increased participation of women and people of diversity in the 2024 local elections.
Retention of Existing Councillors: Continuous professional development through training and education that supports the personal development, leadership, and resilience skills of our existing female councillors. Sharing of experiences between existing elected members and potential candidates that further assist women in participating in this leadership role.
Family Friendly Local Authorities: Discussion on how to facilitate more family friendly local authorities and on how to empower and enable women and people of diversity into various aspects of political life.
Online Safety and Social Media Use: Training workshop that raises awareness and provide advice and guidance for elected members and candidates to assist with ensuring online safety and social media use.
This event is being organised thanks to funding that was sourced from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
Cllr. Mary Hoade, Former President of the AILG who was instrumental in the setting up of the caucus in the West, Midlands and Northern Region, has stated that she is delighted that this funding has been received from the Department:
“This is something that I am really passionate about and I was glad to assist in the call for funding from the Department. The Women’s caucus in its own right is a fantastic support network for women in politics. It is extremely important for us to have a gender balance and I hope that this event will really showcase the support of the Caucus and also encourage women entering politics.”
Chairperson of the Galway County and City Caucus, Cllr. Martina O’Connor also stated:
“The Womens Caucus in Galway has already proved to be a huge source of support to Councillors locally. We aim, with these courses, to extend the professional knowledge and welcome to other women who wish to enter or remain in Politics. The work of a Politician is incredibly rewarding and can bring a sense of meaningful achievement, I know there are many women and people of diverse backgrounds who want to bring their skills into Politics for their communities and country. We aim to empower women to see themselves in these roles and support them to go for it.”
The first day of the programme will be for existing councillors only, with the second day and the online half day aimed at members of the general public who are considering running as a candidate in forthcoming Elections.
When and Where
The programme will be held in the Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe on the 29th February for members of the general public and will be facilitated by Sinéad Doody of Doody Facilitation and Consulting Ltd.
The programme will be free of charge, however Expression of Interest / Registration will be required as spaces will be limited. Those who wish to attend in person on the 29th February may register by clicking on this link or by going to https://forms.office.com/e/5xwAAGqiD8.
Full details can be found on www.galway.ie/en/news.
A women’s caucus can be described as a membership-based network of women councillors from all political parties, who come together to strengthen cooperation and work towards agreed goals. Around the world, women’s caucuses are more common in national parliaments however, in recent years, they have become more prominent in Irish Local Government.
The first WoMeN’s regional caucus in Ireland, was set up in 2021 and it is currently in its pilot phase until March 2024. It is a network of women councillors from 13 local government areas across three connected regions: the West, Midlands and Northern region of Ireland – which includes our own areas of Galway County and City. Its aim is to strengthen collaboration between women Councillors in the region and to provide a mechanism for them to collectively advance gender equality in the Council chamber and beyond.
The following Councillors are members of the Galway County and City Women’s Caucus at a local level:
Cllr. Martina O’Connor (Chairperson of the Local Galway County and City Women’s Caucus)
Cllr. Mary Hoade (Former President of the AILG)
Cllr. Shelly Herterich Quinn
Cllr. Eileen Mannion
Cllr. Evelyn Francis Parsons
Cllr. Geraldine Donohue
Cllr. Karey McHugh-Farag
Cllr. Clodagh Higgins
Cllr. Imelda Byrne
Cllr. Terry O’Flaherty
About the Facilitator
Over the past 20 years, Sinéad Doody of Doody Facilitation and Consulting Ltd has designed and delivered training and development programmes for state agencies, elected representatives, non-profit organisations, Public Participation Networks, community and voluntary groups. She has also produced reports and toolkits relating to women in local politics, equality, diversity and inclusion. Most recently, she has worked on projects for the National Women’s Council (NWC), Public Participation Networks (PPNs), Limerick Women’s Network and the WoMeN’s Regional Caucus to name but a few. She also provides coaching and mentoring to private women clients on leadership, career development and achieving work-life balance.