A new guidebook from See Her Elected to assist female candidates running in the 2024 Local Elections. ‘SHE: A Guidebook to Running in the 2024 Local Elections’ was officially launched via a live zoom webinar event in Longford Women’s Link on, Friday, November 12th.
The book was officially launched by well- known author and Irish Times Journalist Kathy Sheridan while Minister of State at the Department of Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke was also a guest speaker.Kathy Sheridan of the Irish Times urged women to “ignore the negative voices” and to ask themselves the question “why not me” as she encouraged women to consider running in the Local Elections of 2024. No stranger to the world of politics Kathy Sheridan’s late father Joe who hailed from North Longford was an Independent TD for Longford/Westmeath for over two decades. She recalled transcribing her father’s notes as the “short distillation of someone’s quiet desperation” as he made political representations on their behalf. Kathy Sheridan said that female candidates would need “stubbornness, energy, stamina, grit and optimism” and “have the ability to stand their ground but also turn the other cheek”. She praised Minister Helen McEntee as a “fearless” woman who had given fantastic example by taking maternity leave and she urged women to engage with the online workshops to accompany the new SHE guidebook.
Minister of State Peter Burke said the new publication was “an incredible guide” and he was passionate about seeing more women become involved in politics and “making our council chambers more reflective of the society they serve” which would “ultimately lead to a more engaged Oireachtas to reflect society at large”. Minister Burke said that he wanted to make the role of a councillor more manageable and accessible, and he noted that his Department had funded the establishment of a number of women’s caucuses and he also spoke about the vital need for maternity leave for councillors. The Minister praised the SHE guidebook as “instrumental” and he noted that the new book and online workshops would “give women the skills, knowledge and confidence to go forward for politics” which would lead to more balanced decision making.
See Her Elected is a grassroots organisation built on the ethos of women learning and supporting each other with a specific focus on the Midlands and North West. SHE is a collaboration between Longford Women’s Link and 5050North West and the programme is funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
The new publication aims to be a practical, user friendly guide for women who are considering running in the 2024 Local Elections. The guidebook offers a wealth of information with everything from organising your finances to selecting your kitchen table team and campaign manager, how to deal with the media, raising your profile, canvassing and so much more. To accompany the SHE Guidebook to Running in the 2024 Local Elections a series of free, online, interactive, one-hour workshops from See Her Elected will work through this guidebook chapter by chapter with groups of women in each county in the region. The first series of workshops is starting this November and running until May 2022.
The co-authors of the Guidebook are Dr Michelle Maher, Programme Manager with See Her Elected, Mairead O’ Shea, Communications Consultant with See Her Elected and Public Affairs Consultant, Kathleen O’ Meara. Due to Covid restrictions the book was launched via a live zoom webinar broadcast from Longford Women’s Link by Irish Times columnist Kathy Sheridan.
CEO of Longford Women’s Link Tara Farrell said that there was a very specific need for supports as well as training for women living in rural constituencies and so SHE was established in 2019 and had achieved very positive outcomes through the SHESchool courses. The CEO also noted that See Her Elected had been shortlisted for an Innovation in Politics’ Award voted for by a jury of Citizens across Europe.
Programme Manager with See Her Elected Dr Michelle Maher explained:
“This guidebook does not set out to answer every question, nor anticipate every issue a woman running in the local elections will encounter. Each single woman’s circumstances and experience will be different. The guidebook identifies key areas for women to focus on as they prepare for the Local Elections in 2024. See Her Elected will provide consistent and sustained support to women at every step along the way with a course of monthly workshops designed around this Guidebook.
“What we have given you are all the areas you need to think about and to have a plan for. Starting from now with why it shouldn’t be you in the Council right through selection conventions, how to get on the ballot paper to campaigning and canvassing to the tally and the count.
“It is not just for women who will be the candidates. Just as important are the women behind them – the campaign managers and the campaign teams. You don’t need to be the person with your photo on the poster to be part of See Her Elected. And don’t forget to always count SHE in as part of the team. See Her Elected will provide consistent and sustained support to you in monthly workshops designed around this,” said Dr Maher.
Mairead O’ Shea, Communications Consultant with See Her Elected who acted as MC for proceedings said that it was a “fantastic day of celebration” and she noted that the new book would be a “brilliant resource and user friendly guide for women” who were considering running for the Local Elections in 2024.
Public Affairs Consultant Kathleen O’ Meara who is one of the co-authors of the book will also be helping to deliver the online workshops to accompany the book. “I’m really delighted to have contributed to the book, and to be delivering the course alongside my fellow collaborators.
“You’ll be learning from my mistakes and from the many things I have learned along the way, including things which you could not be expected to know as a first-time candidate. Our intention is to equip you to have the best possible chance of being nominated and of being elected, even if it is your first time.
The course will be informative. And interactive. You’ll be joining in. You’ll be doing homework. You’ll be learning all the time,” said Kathleen.
Copies of the new publication will be available to participants of the SHE online workshops designed to accompany the book while an e-book version of the publication will also be available to download free of charge from the SHE website www.seeherelected.ie