General Election 2020: Where the parties stand on Gender Quotas and Positive Discrimination 3 months ago

General Election 2020: Where the parties stand on Gender Quotas and Positive Discrimination

On Saturday, February 8, the country will go to the polls for a General Election that seems to have been both coming for ages and happening all of a sudden. With new pledges and policy documents being launched almost every day, you could spend every waking hour between now and casting your vote reading and still not get through it all. (If you've actually done that, please do let us know!)

There's plenty of public discussion about the major issues, from housing to health, that affect us all. But what are the parties going to do on issues that are of particular interest to women?

To help you decide where to cast your vote, we identified some key issues for female voters and asked each of the major parties and political groupings for their stance. Their answers are listed below, in alphabetic order.

*We will continue to update the information as we receive answers from the parties and groupings. 

What is the party's policy on positive discrimination and gender quotas, both in and outside of politics?

Fianna Fáil

Increasing female representation in political life has been a slow process. While strides forward have been made, much more work needs to be done. All politics is local and we need to ensure more women are present at key decision making processes from the bottom up.

Setting a floor on the number of women that a political party in receipt of state funding can put forward will directly tackle this deficit of representation. We will implement a 30 percent gender quota system for local elections candidates for political parties.

Fine Gael

(No mention of issue in manifesto.)

The Green Party

The Green Party is extremely supportive of gender quotas and positive discrimination, both inside and outside of politics. For example, we would introduce a mandatory gender quota of 30 percent on the executive boards of all large companies registered in Ireland, as well as in all political and decision-making bodies. We live by our words here – gender balance within the Greens is part of our party constitution.


Labour would introduce a legally binding quota of 30 percent for non-executive directors on the boards of listed companies and require businesses to publish the gender breakdown of company directors in their annual reports.

We’ll also require at least 40 percent representation of each gender in sport governing bodies.

Sinn Féin

Building incrementally on the gender quota in Dáil elections towards 50% and ensuring at least 30% of Ministers and Junior Ministers are female in line with gender quotas.

Ensuring gender quotas are also met in the Seanad working towards a 50/50 representation.

Social Democrats

We’re proud of the fact we are the only major party to run a majority of women, and believe it demonstrates that when you create inclusive progressive environments quotas aren’t necessary.

In an ideal world they wouldn’t be necessary at all, but systems do not change themselves. This is why we support quotas in politics and wider life.