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Why women should vote for women

Remember when the Voice of Women was at its zenith, when annual meetings with political parties were heralded as a tremendous weapon to push primarily "women's' issues", when there was the dawning of a new political age for women, and everything seemed possible in the best of all worlds? Equality of the sexes beckoned, and beckoned, and beckoned.

What happened? In Canada? In Ireland?

Recently it was calculated that in Ireland, at the present rate of progress, it would take some 370 years for the number of women in the Dáil (the Irish House of Commons) to reach 50 per cent of its membership.

And the present population of Ireland has a greater number of females than males.

The present population of Canada also has a greater number of females than males, 15,300,245 compared with 14,706,850 males.

Are Canadian women also destined to wait 370 years for their numbers in their House of Commons to reach 50 per cent of its membership? Almost. Say 325 years.

This reflection was prompted by news coverage of International Women's Day events, particularly on television. Women showed their solidarity by staging marches in cities worldwide. Some marched for peace, world peace, others for a myriad of issues. But they marched together.

Next day the marching feet fell silent. There was nothing tangible remaining.

What if the owners of those marching feet used their hands instead to accomplish what they wished? What if they used their fingers to wield a pencil or punch a computer button in a polling booth, all with one aim, to achieve equality in the world of politics? Horror of horrors, or joy of joys?

There are eleven registered political parties in Canada, and three others eligible for registration.

There are seven political parties with representatives in Dáil Éireann, the Irish lower house.

If once, just once, women voters in each and every constituency banded together on election day to vote as women for women, what an upset there could be. Even where there were no women candidates on the ballot paper, they could upset the political apple carts of the established parties, parties which heretofore have taken them for granted. Tokenism would no longer be tolerated.

The time for women voting as women has come. Three hundred years is a long time to wait for equality to come. Is that what they want?



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