Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he hopes that by the next election people will have the choice to elect strong and representative numbers of women to the Dáil.
Mr Kenny was opening a conference in Dublin Castle on how to elect more women, organised by Minister of State for Equality Kathleen Lynch.
He said legislation would be debated in the Dáil in coming weeks to cut State funding to parties that do not have women making up at least 30% of their candidates.
Mr Kenny said quotas cause controversy and do not of themselves elect candidates, but they do give a strong signal to political parties of what is expected of them.
He said the current system has failed to supply people with an adequate number of women in the political system and that having more women TDs would "share the spectrum of sacrifice" involved in entering politics.