The government plans to hold a referendum proposing an amendment to Article 41.2 of the Constitution – which refers to a woman’s contribution to the State through her life within the home – later this year.
This amendment has been long discussed and was among the recommendations made by the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality.
“While it remains to be seen what practical impact a constitutional change will have on gender equality, it’s clear that more work needs to be done to achieve parity between men and women,” said Moira Grassick, Chief Operating Officer at Peninsula Ireland.
Grassick said employers need to “take responsibility for achieving gender equality in their own operations. There is no silver bullet as each business must address its own concerns and problems but making gender equality a top priority is the first step towards giving women an equal chance in the workplace.”
A mean gender pay gap of 12.6% exists across Irish organisations that have published reports in December 2022.
Calling attention to this, Grassick said that gap is “largely attributable to men filling more senior roles than women across a range of organisations. Women are in the minority in the Dáil. Recent figures showed that female participation in the labour force was 58.9% compared to 70.8% for males.
She added that: “This referendum is welcome as it will put gender equality in the spotlight. However, for women to achieve true equality in the workplace, practical issues such as equalising family-friendly policies and making childcare more affordable would have a more meaningful impact. Government interventions can make a difference, but policy on its own will only go so far.”