Event to mark Lá na mBan recommends a range of supports to encourage women in public life and business

Political think-tank, the Collins Institute has called for further supports to encourage greater participation by women across all aspects of Irish life and business, but particularly for women looking to gain elected political office.

At an event today (Thursday) to celebrate the centenary of Irish women getting the right to vote in 1918, the Institute invited a number of speakers from across Europe to explore the challenges that exist for women in other countries.

The event heard calls for gender quotas to be introduced for local election candidates from 2019, as an extension of the introduction of gender quotas for candidates in general elections in 2012.

At today’s event the Collins Institute also recommended the introduction of maternity leave for Oireachtas Members while reflecting the particular nature of the role of elected officials; allowing for effective pairing arrangements and ensuring a family-friendly work environment for public representatives.

The Collins Institute also called for increased use of technology and digital hubs to facilitate remote working, allowing both men and women greater flexibility to balance work and home life.

Her Excellency, Mrs. Deike Potzel, German Ambassador to Ireland; Her Excellency, Mrs. Kristi Karelsohn, Estonian Ambassador to Ireland, and historian Sinéad McCoole, took part in the discussion; women obtained the right to vote in Estonia in 1917 and in Germany in 1918, as in Ireland.

Speaking ahead of the Là na mBan event, Marion Coy, Chair of the Collins Institute said:

“The Collins Institute has a strong focus on active and influential citizenship. In this centenary year, the processes and policies that impact on women’s influence in workplaces, in households and in the centres of social, economic and cultural decision-making are of particular interest. So too are the education and health policies that impact on the influence of women.

“One hundred years after getting the right to vote, Irish women are still active in the fight for equality in politics, business and the wider society. The rhetoric around equality needs to be matched by specific actions that enable women to fully participate in employment and fully advance in their careers, including when those careers are in the political sphere.”

The Collins Institute event also celebrated the centenary of Lá na mBan which took place 100 years ago on 9th June, 1918. On this day thousands of women marched on Dublin City Hall, and other important buildings throughout the country, to sign a pledge condemning conscription, demonstrating the power of female, grassroots activism.


Note to Editors

  • The Collins Institute is a policy think tank supported by Fine Gael but operating independently of it.
  • The Institute examines the long-term challenges facing Ireland and suggests possible policy responses.
  • In particular, it looks at the way in which a Just Republic might be established in Ireland as we approach 2022, the centenary of both the founding of the Irish State and the death of Michael Collins.


  • Fiona O’Connor, Board Member, The Collins Institute, Mob: 087 694 9601