Call for public childcare and leadership quotas to improve gender equality


The government must take urgent action to address gender inequalities before the National Strategy for Women and Girls is released, the National Council of Women said.

The Citizens’ Assembly recently made strong recommendations on how to improve gender equality, such as the introduction of public childcare quotas and leadership, and these should be implemented immediately. said Orla O’Connor, director of the National Council of Women (NWC). .

The complications of Covid have meant that the National Strategy for Women and Girls, the government’s roadmap to correcting persistent gender inequalities in Ireland, has been delayed by a year. It was set to peak at the end of 2020, but it should instead end later this year.

But the pandemic has both entrenched and highlighted the inequalities women and girls face in Ireland and urgent action is needed now, Ms O’Connor said.

What women clearly want is action. They want to see things delivered. The women said what they wanted – like public day care centers – and we are still waiting for it to be done.

“We are still waiting to see more women in decision-making positions. The pace of change is a huge issue around women’s equality. “

Report of the Citizens’ Assembly

Ms O’Connor said the Citizens’ Assembly’s recent report on gender equality was “much stronger” than the government’s ongoing strategy for women and girls.

“The Citizens’ Assembly has really come up with a good roadmap for where the government needs to go in terms of equality. The current strategy is quite weak on specific outcomes, ”she said.

“The Citizens’ Assembly made a very clear recommendation on leadership quotas, while the strategy is not as clear on this.

“It also made a very clear case for public child care, which is not in the current strategy.

“These recommendations don’t come out of nowhere. These are things that have been recommended by women in many different places and in many different consultation processes that the government has put in place. They just just sat there.

The latest women’s strategy, released in 2007, was followed by a recession that limited investment in the strategy. Possible post-Covid austerity now raises fears that history will repeat itself.

Women, especially single parents, have borne the brunt of this recession and they have also suffered disproportionately during the pandemic.

Little urgency to fight against inequalities

Yet there is little urgency in tackling these lingering inequalities, said Ms O’Connor.

Women really want the pace of change to accelerate and they are absolutely tired of waiting for equality, ”she said.

Our concern is that there is simply not the urgency of a change for women. “

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Equality said that a progress report on the strategy was published in 2019 and highlighted the achievements of the strategy up to July 2018. A progress report for the period of August 2018 to the end of 2020 is in the works, they said.

“In response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the implementation of the actions of the strategy, a decision was taken to extend the strategy until the end of 2021,” said the spokesperson.

“An independent evaluation of the strategy will be commissioned this year and will examine the current strategy and a number of other equality strategies concluded during the same period,” they said.

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