The American Ireland Fund will support Women for Election's delivery of top-quality campaign training that attracts participants from a range of geographic, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. As Women for Election continues to expand its programs, The American Ireland Fund will offer support for financial planning, strategic and fundraising development, and identifying and securing participation of contributors for the organization's educational programs. The programs inspire greater political participation by women in Ireland before providing training on core campaign, election, and personal development skills in research, campaign planning, budgeting, fundraising, and communications. These will be delivered to candidates and campaign managers planning to run in the 2014 or 2016 elections, to young women seeking to participate in college elections, and to women in community organizations seeking to strengthen their influence.
The American Ireland Fund proposes to support Women for Election to deliver its non-partisan, issue-neutral, three-tiered political training program consisting of the Inform, Inspire, and Equip modules from 2013-2016.
Inform is a half-day session that provides an opportunity to examine the local and national political system and to understand how further political participation of women can benefit individuals and the wider community. The Inform sessions will run six times each year from now until 2016, during which time over 450 women are expected to attend.
Inspire is a one-day program that provides an introduction to political life, focusing on campaigns, communications, and confidence. The program is designed to demystify entrance into politics, and give each participant the tools and direction that they need to take their next step on their political journey. The next Inspire events will be held on 28th September (Dublin) and 23rd November (Cork). These events will take place four times each year and over 450 women are expected to attend from 2013-2016.
Based on The Women's Campaign School at Yale University, Equip is a highly practical program that will ensure that participants are equipped with the key tools and techniques to be the best candidate they can be. This program will run once each calendar year for 20-35 (60-100 women by 2016) women that have made the decision to run for political office. Its content will include sessions on public speaking, working with the media, resilience, campaign management strategy, fundraising and budgeting, and women and power. It will be delivered by international and national experts who are committed to improving political representation of women in Ireland and beyond. Dates for 2014-2016 have not yet been confirmed but the 2013 program ran in April.
In Ireland, women make up 51% of the population but only 15% of nationally elected representatives and 16% of those elected locally. Since the foundation of the State in 1918, just ninety-two women have been elected to office. Today, Ireland is ranked 109th out of 149 countries for female political representation and yet, at 15%, female representation has never been higher. To truly address the underrepresentation of women in politics, a combination of hard measures (for example, gender quotas) and softer measures (including training programs, mentoring, and women's political networks) must be provided.
Women for Election is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization striving for balanced participation of women and men in political life in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Its mission is to inspire and equip women to succeed in politics. Through its tailored training and support program to women seeking to enter public life, and by facilitating a dynamic network of cross-party political women, Women for Election is working intensively to achieve equal representation of women and men in Irish politics.
After just one year, Women for Election has established itself as movement for those who are passionate about making politics in Ireland truly representative of those it serves. Through financial support and assistance with fundraising and promotional activities, The American Ireland Fund proposes to help Women for Election build on its success and maintain critical momentum moving into an election cycle that includes local, European, and general elections in the next two years.
With its support for Community Development initiatives across Ireland, The American Ireland Fund supports Women for Election's conviction that enriching the diversity of voices in Irish politics will lead to more robust decisions, and help create a fairer, more inclusive and dynamic society, better equipped to tackle social issues.