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'We're falling very far short': Citizens' Assembly on gender equality to start work in autumn

The assembly will begin its work in October this year.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced the establishment of a new Citizen’s Assembly on gender equality which will begin its work in October this year.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar assembly will look at reasons women are still paid less and find it harder to reach top positions as well as examining womens’ unequal share of the burden of care. 

“Ireland is a country in which we’ve made great strides forward when it comes to equality between men and women in recent years, whether it’s changing our laws on issues such as divorce, reproductive rights and domestic violence, whether it’s the fact that there are more women at work than ever before, more women who are financially independent than before, whether it’s the fact that more women are doing well in professions in business and in politics,” the Taoiseach said. 

However I don’t think anyone could argue for a second that Ireland is a country in which men and women are equal. We fall very far short of that and the current pace of change and the current rate of progress is too slow. 

Varadkar said at the current rate, it could take many generations before women and men in Ireland are “truly equal”. 

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said the government wants to hear from the assembly about ways the State can support women and whether there are government policies or legislation that are hindering co-responsibility when it comes to childcare. 

The assembly will have six months to do its work and report back with recommendations. 

After this, the Taoiseach said another Citizens’ Assembly for Dublin will look at local government in the capital and how it can be better organised. This will include the possibility of a directly elected mayor, whether Dublin needs four councils and which powers could be transferred from central government to Dublin. 

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