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Citizens' Assembly recommends 'women in home' clause be removed from constitution

The National Women’s Council welcomed the recommendation that the ‘sexist’ clause be removed.

Image: Shutterstock/StunningArt

THE CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY has recommended that the so-called “women’s place in the home clause” be removed from the Irish constitution.

The deletion and replacement of Article 41.2 of the Constitution is one of a raft of recommendations on gender equality announced by the 99 person assembly today.

The National Women’s Council welcomed the recommendation to replace the “sexist and outdated” clause.

The group of citizens from around the country, led by Chairperson Dr Catherine Day, were asked to consider all aspects of gender equality in Ireland.

It made a total of 45 recommendations which will be sent to the government.

The recommendations focus on:

  • The constitution,
  • Leadership and politics,
  • Care and childcare,
  • Domestic, sexual and gender based violence,
  • Pay and social protection,
  • Technology and the media.

Along with the removal of Article 41.2, the assembly recommend amending Article 41, which recognises the family as the natural and fundamental unit group of society as a moral institution.

It said the family should not be limited to the marital family. It also suggests inserting a new clause into Article 40, which centres on Fundamental Rights to refer explicitly to gender equality and non-discrimination.

The assembly also called on the government to improve terms and conditions for those in paid employment as carers, including access to pensions.

It sought increased visibility of men performing caring roles, choice in care and independence for older persons and persons with disabilities, and changes to Carer’s Allowance, respite, and pensions for family carers.

On the issue of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence the assembly says gender power dynamics, consent and domestic, sexual and gender-based violence be covered within the revised Relationships and Sexuality curriculum.

It sought the appointment of a Victims/Survivors Commissioner as an independent advocate and voice for victims and survivors.

The assembly also recommended the introduction of maternity leave for all elected representatives. 

It also recommended that gender quotas for party candidates should be extended to local, Seanad and European Elections the end of 2022.

It called for the minimum wage to be increased to align it with the living wage by 2025.

Targets set in legislation to reduce the hourly gender pay gap to 9% by 2025 and 4% by 2030 – with a view to eliminating it by 2035 – was also among the recommendations.

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At the announcement of the results, Dr Day said: “The recommendations the citizens agreed don’t just call for incremental change.

They call for big changes that can make Ireland a better and more gender equal place to live for all of us. They call for change in our Constitution, for new laws and policies and for stronger enforcement.

Speaking on Saturday with Katie Hannon on RTÉ Radio One, Dr Day, a former European Commission Secretary General, said the assembly recommended that the so-called ‘women’s place in the home clause’ be deleted was because it was deemed to be outdated.

Dr Day said it recommends it be replaced “with strong language that places an obligation on the State to support care in the home and in the community”.

She added that there was intense debate around the subject of gender quotas in elections, where with three quarter of assembly members supported the recommendation that they be extended.

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council said the “ground-breaking” recommendations send a strong and clear signal to government.

“The recommendations have the potential to really transform women’s’ and girls’ lives in this country and include the key elements that we need to achieve gender equality. We call on the Government to prioritise their implementation without delay,” O’Connor said.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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