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Active Participation of Dedicated Women Required in Local Politics: Hazel Chu

A Dublin councillor emphasizes the necessity of a “cultural shift” to ensure equitable representation of women’s voices in local politics. Currently, Dublin City Council comprises 63 members, with males outnumbering females by nearly two to one. Women make up only about 35% of the council, indicating a significant gender disparity that could impact representation and decision-making.

Green Party councillor Janet Horner asserts that changing the culture within councils is essential to achieve proper representation of the community. She acknowledges the prevalence of online hostility in the role but views being a councillor as a valuable opportunity to effect change in her community.

Former Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu, who has experienced significant abuse in her political career, highlights the well-documented challenges faced by women in public roles. Despite these obstacles, Chu actively encourages young women to pursue careers in local politics. She acknowledges the recent introduction of maternity cover for councillors and identifies other challenges such as securing childcare and managing the demanding council hours, along with concerns about salary levels.

Chu emphasizes the need for greater diversity in national and local politics, advocating for younger, female, and minority group councillors to better reflect society as a whole.

She added that while online hostility is a part of the role, working as a councillor is ultimately an “amazing privilege” and a great opportunity to create change within her community.

Hazel Chu, the former Lord Mayor of Dublin, was reared in Ireland and has endured a great deal of abuse during her time in politics. She said that the hostility women receive in public positions is nothing new.
“There is research and data showing that women are more likely to get it in the neck,” the speaker stated.
The Green Party council member nevertheless puts a lot of effort into encouraging young women to enter local politics in spite of this.

She acknowledges that there are difficulties, pointing out that the introduction of maternity leave for council members was recent.
A young individual hoping to break into politics may find it challenging to secure childcare due to the unique hours associated with working for the council, and there are other challenges related to salary.
She continued by saying that both men and women who are interested in entering politics must consider the financial factor.
“We need younger councillors, female councillors, minority group councillors in national and local politics because, at the moment, we are not reflective of our society,” Ms Chu said.

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