Have gender quotas led to more females being elected?

New faces have gained mandates - while a number of seasoned campaigners have fallen short...

Have gender quotas led to more females being elected?

Niall Carson / PA

The first election after the introduction of gender quotas will end with a host of new female faces in the Dail - but the overall number of women elected is likely to remain largely unchanged.

Michelle O'Donnell Keating, co-founder of Women for Election, an advocacy group, joined Newstalk. She says that with 25 females elected, and a number still in the running, the overall amount of women in the Dail could reach the low 30s, she says that this would be a "significant improvement." The last parliament had 27 female members.

There are 9 new female candidates who have been elected for the first time, although this has been balanced by a number of seasoned politicians losing their seats.

Labour's Kathleen Lynch, Anne Ferris, Ann Phelan, Joanna Tuffy, Ciara Conway - Fine Gael's Aine Collins and Gabrielle McFadden - and Renua leader Lucinda Creighton have all lost or are set to lose their seats. 

"In the general election in 2011 there were 86 female candidates - in the 2016 general election there were 163 female candidates ... that was a tremendous leap," Ms O'Donnell Keating said.

"Reform cannot happen overnight, it happens as a journey," she added, saying that she believes that the introduction of gender quotas has led to an increase in choice for voters.

Former Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell told Newstalk that she had reservations about the quota system, as she feared that it could result in tokenism, "even if they are the best candidates in the world, and the best TDs in the world they will always have that cloud over them," she said.

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