Former Irish leader puts spotlight on women

PROMINENT Irish politician Mary Harney will be in Ipswich as guest speaker for the Ipswich Women's Development Network's next event on Friday.

The long-serving former Tanaiste (deputy prime minister of Ireland) will discuss what Ireland and other European countries have done to increase political representation by women and to reflect on her own experience as a pioneering woman parliamentarian.

Hot on the heels of last month's successful general election in Ireland, IWDN president Rhonda Nolan said Ms Harney's thoughts would give an interesting insight into European politics.

"At a time when women's representation across Australian Parliaments has been decreasing, Ireland recently made real gains, with this February's general election seeing the number of women in the national Parliament jump nearly 40%," Mrs Nolan said.

"Looking at that increase in representation, particularly when we've just gone past International Women's Day, it is quite topical. Queensland seems to be a bit of an exception, but if you look at what is happening federally and in other states there seems to be a decline in women in politics rather than an increase."

Mary Harney was a member of the Irish Senate and Lower House, for more than 30 years. She was the first woman to lead a party, the Progressive Democrats, and was tanaiste or deputy prime minister from 1997 to 2006.

The event will be held at Cactus Espresso Bar at 7pm on April 1.

Tickets are $15. To book and for further information, go to facebook.com/IpswichWomensDevelopmentNetwork/.



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