Donegal County Council is set to take part in a special day of awareness this March, where the roles will be reversed to have a female majority representing the county.
On 8th March, International Women’s Day, the gender balance of the council will be ‘flipped’ to have as many women in seats as there are currently men.
That means there will be 33 women, and four men representing the county.
Women councillors currently make up just 10.8% of elected members of Donegal County Council. They are Marie Therese Gallagher (Sinn Féin) in Glenties, Niamh Kennedy (Independent) in Donegal, Rena Donaghy (Fianna Fáil) in South Inishowen and Noreen McGarvey (Fianna Fáil) for Glenties.
On 8th March, the county will get a glimpse of what type of decision-making could take place if women had greater representation.
The 33 female representatives taking part in the meeting will include Donegal’s four elected female councillors alongside women of a variety of backgrounds from all over the county.
“It will be very interesting I’m sure,” says Councillor Niamh Kennedy, who is a member of the Women’s Regional Caucus that is leading the ‘flip’ day.
Thirteen councils across the Midlands, Northern & Western Region are set to host the gender flip meetings on International Women’s Day as part of the ‘See Her Elected’ strategy to address the under-representation of women in politics.
Women made up 20% (17 out of 85) of the 2019 Local Election candidates in Donegal. No woman ran in the Lifford-Stranorlar area at all. The municipal districts of Letterkenny, Milford, Carndonagh and Lifford-Stranorlar currently have all-male representation.
The See Her Elected programme is setting out to achieve more gender balance by focusing on raising awareness of the importance of women getting more involved in politics and possibly running in the 2024 local elections.
More details on the upcoming ‘flip’ meeting in Lifford on 8th March are set to be unveiled in due course.