Irish organisation See Her Elected crowned winners in Democracy category of the European Innovation in Politics Awards 2021.
Minister of State for Planning and Local Government at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Peter Burke TD, has this evening in Brussels accepted the prestigious award for Innovation in Politics in Brussels on behalf of the Irish organisation See Her Elected, a programme which is fully funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
See Her Elected (S.H.E.) was selected as a finalist out of 400 projects in the Innovation in Politics Awards, chosen by a jury of 1,032 European citizens. The awards recognise courageous and creative political projects in Europe, regardless of their party affiliation or level of government.
Speaking from Brussels after the announcement was made, Minister Burke said he was thrilled with the news, commending the team at SHE for their hard work and commitment. He said, “I am delighted with the news that SHE has won the overall Innovation in Politics Award in the democracy category, and from working with them over the last eighteen months, I am not surprised. SHE is a feminist, community-led, rural initiative to support women into politics. They were established in 2019 to tackle the lack of female representation in politics, particularly in the midlands and north-west where anything from 78% to 95% of the elected local authority councils are made up of men.”
“SHE engages directly with women in their communities through the innovative SHESchool where participants learn more about local government and explore how they can overcome the barriers that face many women who are interested in participating in electoral politics. Coming from a rural background and prioritising the issue of gender equality in Local Government, I have been delighted to support and collaborate with SHE through funding their programmes and engaging with them in relation to research and the development of policy.”
“It is a priority of the Irish Government to achieve gender and diversity balance in both local and national politics. In the last year, I have allocated funding to Women for Election, our local authorities, the National Women’s Council of Ireland, political parties and organisations such as SHE. We have commissioned research on the barriers to engagement in politics to inform future policy and recently improved the terms and conditions for Councillors. I soon will bring forward proposals for maternity leave and supports for Councillors, which is a long overdue policy requirement.”
“I congratulate Dr. Michelle Maher and all the team at SHE and commend them for their invaluable contribution to Irish politics. I look forward to continued collaboration, as there is still much work to do to make our council chambers reflect the communities they serve.”
Dr. Michelle Maher, SHE Programme Manager said she was honoured to accept the award on behalf of SHE, saying“we are absolutely thrilled that See Her Elected has been selected as the overall winner in the democracy category in the Innovation in Politics Award. See Her Elected was established in 2019 so to reach this level of international recognition in a few short years is truly remarkable. The fact that we are the first Irish winners makes it even more special!”
“This award also belongs to the women in rural Ireland who joined our online SHESchool in their hundreds to understand local government, active citizenship and explore how they could overcome the barriers that result in the low numbers of women in our county councils“.