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What Do You Know About Your 2014 Local Election Candidates?

It’s time to be informed

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In the run up to the 2014 Donegal Local Elections, NCCWN- Donegal Women’s Network has sent out an ‘Open Invitation’ to all 2014 local election candidates to respond to questions that have been identified as areas of concern by voters in Donegal.

All candidates running have been invited to respond and to pledge to undertake specific actions if they are successful and elected onto Donegal County Council. All responses or non-responses, will be published on the Donegal Democrat’s specifically designed web- page  ‘BE INFORMED…..  about your 2014 Local Candidates.’ This we believe will give the electorate an insight into each candidate as well as giving the candidates an open forum which could be helpful in securing votes.

The questions cover a number of topics covering; childcare, cuts to carers, Domestic Abuse + Violence Against Women, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), Travellers, Women’s Political Representation and Equality within our society. In the next couple of weeks our readers will receive an overview of the candidate’s responses as well as the link to the Donegal Democrat’s web page and that of NCCWN- Donegal Women’s Networks.

With 83 confirmed candidates in Donegal and sadly, only 11 female nominations in the county which include: Rena Donaghey FF, Mary Mc Cauley FF Claudia Kennedy, FF, Grace Boyle, FG, Siobhan Mc Laughlin, Labour, Maire Therese O Gallachoir, SF, Naimh Kennedy, Ind, Berne Mulhern, Ind, Patricia Mc Cafferty, Ind, Charlie Mc Dyer, People Before Profit and Eilish Haden, Direct Democracy Ireland.

This lack of female representation is been acknowledged by many men and women on the doorsteps in Donegal, with more women in the county council been seen as advantageous to a more effective running council.  One voter said, “Women are very practical and work more from a collective perspective as opposed to taking ‘territorial and confrontational’ stances.”

Taking a broad sweep of female representation across the North West the following clearly indicates little has changed to encourage and support the participation of female candidates despite the fact that the female membership of our two largest parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael is between 35% and 40%.

In Donegal Fine Gael have one woman running and 13 men; in Sligo – 10 men and one woman; in Leitrim – two women and 9 men. And, this is the party that introduced gender quotas!

Fianna Fail is no better.  In Donegal: 15 men and three women; In Sligo: one woman and eight men; in Leirim the situation is a little better with 9 men and 3 women.  Yet, Michael Martin, in Fianna Fail’s Gender Equality Action Plan, committed to ‘renew Irish politics and make it more representative’.  In the Irish Times (2/4/14) Senator Averil Power bravely criticised her own party’s failure to take serious action to address its low female representation.

Nationally there has been an increase of female participation for this local election with an increase of 6 % (from 17 % to 23 %.) All parties except FF have showed an increase,

FG – up by 5 %. Labour – up by 7 %. SF up by 9 % with the highest selection of female candidates within Anti Austerity Alliance at 33.3% and People Before Profit at 40%.

Under new legislation, the ‘Electoral (Amendment )Political Funding Bill 2011’, which comes into effect for the next general election,  political parties will be obliged to implement an electoral ‘gender’ quota or suffer severe financial penalties. Each party will have to have at least 30 % women on the ballot paper. Fine Gael for example last year under Electoral Acts received 2.8 million euro and therefore stands to lose up to 1.4 million euro. I wonder will the threat of financial penalty help to focus the minds of the men in power?

Watch this space!

 

Are you a Feminist? You Might be one If….

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President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins is not behind the door when he states that he is a feminist. Neither was his two predecessors President, Mary McAleese and President, Mary Robinson.

The San Diego State University chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW),  has a flier entitled – “You Might Be A Feminist If…” , that includes the following attributes that allow men and women to see what it means, essentially, to be a feminist:

  • you are a woman or man that believes in ending sexism.
  • you believe in equal pay for equal work.
  • you support choice and reproductive freedom.
  • you believe that women should not fear for their safety at night.
  • you believe that rape victims should be treated with respect, not suspicion.
  • you believe that women should not be defined by their bodies.
  • you want to see more female representation in elected office.
  • you know that equal rights are not “special rights”.
  • you believe that no opportunity should be closed to a woman because of her gender, race, class, or sexuality.
  • you believe that religion is not an excuse for sexism.
  • you want your daughter, mother, friend, sister, girlfriend, or wife to be safe from violence.
  • you believe in speaking up and taking action to end sexism.
  • you believe that women, women’s work, and women’s opinions matter.

Feminism means all of these things. If you agree with all or many of these statements, you might just be a feminist! Many people who read this list, and previously had not considered themselves to be feminists, reconsider their position.

Finola Brennan, Co-ordinator  NCCWN – DWN shares her thoughts on feminism –

“Feminism means very many different things to very many different people. 

For me, feminism is the belief that all people should be treated equally in legal, economic, social and political arenas – regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and other similar predominant identifying traits. 

Feminism includes the idea that a person’s gender does not define who they are or what they are worth and that being a woman [or indeed, a man] should not put a person at an overall, and especially -institutionalized disadvantage. 

Sometimes calling oneself a feminist comes with a plethora of stigmas including that one is a bra burning,  man-hating  militant, and of course – a lesbian! 

Nearly all who would consider themselves under the feminist umbrella would agree that the core of feminism revolves around a fundamental belief in equality.”

The editorial group of the National Collective of Community-based Women’s Networks – Donegal Women’s Network (NCCWN- DWN) would be interested in hearing your point of view.

Have your say: Invitation to attend the NCCWN-Donegal Women’s Network Manifesto Meeting

Are you concerned about the issues effecting your community in Donegal?

Local and EU elections are happening on Friday 23rd May, and in the run up to these elections NCCWN-Donegal Women’s Network are holding a meeting on Wednesday 23rd April @11am to discuss the issues the network have found which has lead to the creation of the NCCWN Women’s Manifesto, but this is also an opportunity for members of the community to come together and discuss how we can address these local issues.

All are welcome please also share this invitation with family and friends.

Many thanks

For further details contact:

Telephone (074) 972 2790Email finbrennan@eircom.net or donwomnet@eircom.net

 

Do you know what Human Trafficking is? And would you be able to recognise its signs in your local community?

A guide to the issue of Human Trafficking for Service Providers in Co.Donegal. Please click on the picture below to find out about what is Human Trafficking is and how as a community we can help end it.

human trafficThe booklet was compiled by the Human Trafficking Working Group, an interagency partnership with members representing organisations such as the HSE, An Garda Siochána, Letterkenny Women’s Centre, Donegal Domestic Violence Service, Donegal Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre, Nexus and National Collective of community-based Women’s Network-Donegal Women’s Network. To read more about the launch of this booklet please visit the HSE website.

“Human Trafficking Is A Form Of Slavery It Is Happening In Ireland. Let’s End It Now.

Be Vigilant, Call 1800 25 00 25 Or Email Blueblindfold@Garda.Ie Educate Yourself About This Crime.”

The National Anti-Human Trafficking Unit can be contacted by post, telephone, fax and e-mail:

Address: Anti-Human Trafficking Unit
Department of Justice and Equality
51 St. Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2
Phone: + 353 1 602-8878
Fax: + 353 1 602-8276
E-mail: ahtudivision@justice.ie