This paper examines the attitudes of women political elites in Ireland toward positive action initiatives that would assist in increasing women's legislative presence. An earlier study isolated family responsibilities and lack of finance as significant barriers for Irish women wishing to enter, and stay in, political life. In addition, scholarly and policy debates on boosting women's parliamentary representation focus on manipulating electoral or party selection rules along with strategies for making a political career more compatible with women's socially determined responsibilities. This paper examines how Irish women politicians respond to various suggestions for positive action in these three arenas: combining legislative and family responsibilities, funding a political campaign and getting elected. The paper highlights the broad consensus among women politicians, irrespective of party, self-interest, or length of service, favoring certain positive action initiatives, as well as their reluctance to support other options. It also illustrates the complexity of implementing some of these reforms. In addition, the paper emphasizes how cultural expectations and values act to inhibit women's political agency.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Gender Studies