Ireland has much more to do on gender equality

07 March 2018

On the eve of International Women’s Day, Labour spokesperson on Equality and representative for Dún Laoghaire, Cllr Deirdre Kingston, has said that while improvements have been made, Ireland still has some way to go to achieving full equality between women and men.

Cllr Kingston said:

“I think anyone would agree that the Ireland of today is a very different place to the country of our grandmothers and those before them, where the role of homemaker was seen as a woman’s sole function.

“In today’s Ireland where we’ve had successful female presidents, political leaders, CEOs, astronauts, decision makers and opinion leaders among many others, it’s hard to fathom that women were only given the right to vote 100 years ago.

“But despite a sea-change in attitudes, there is still a long way to go on the road to full gender equality, particularly in the workplace.

“There are still gender stereotypes and unconscious biases to overcome and glass ceilings to shatter.

“We need more women in senior leadership and decision making roles, increased participation of women on boards, more women in politics and STEM to name but a few examples.

“The vital role of women who care for their families, relatives or loved ones must also be recognised and not undervalued.

“If we are to achieve true gender equality, women must be empowered and given the same opportunities as men.

“We need an affordable childcare sector that enables women who have children and want or have to go back to work to do so, without making it counter productive financially.

“We also know that children benefit from spending time with both their parents. A Labour proposal to introduce paternity leave is now in place, but we need to move towards a system that gives both parents the chance to spend a year at home with their newborn children.

“It is simply not acceptable that Irish women in 2018 are paid around 14% less than their male colleagues, and we need to legislate for this right away.

“Labour, as the party of work and equality, has been at the forefront of efforts to bring about a change in this regard in Ireland, and our Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, which passed Committee Stage in October, would require medium to large-sized companies to regularly publish wage transparency surveys to highlight any difference in pay between their male and female workers.

“While these inequalities still exits, days like International Women’s Day will continue to be incredibly important, and my colleagues in the Labour Party and I will continue to highlight these issues on the path to true gender equality.”

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