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First Citizens' Assembly weekend on gender equality to be held in February

It will discuss the reasons women are still paid less, find it harder to reach top positions, and carry an unequal share of the burden of care.

Image: Shutterstock/G-Stock Studio

THE CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY on gender equality will hold its inaugural meeting in January with its first weekend of hearings to be held on 14-16 February 2020.

The assembly will discuss the reasons women are still paid less and find it harder to reach top positions, as well as examining women’s’ unequal share of the burden of care.

Dr Catherine Day, the former Secretary General of the European Commission, will chair the upcoming citizens’ assembly.

The government agreed to establish the assembly in June and plans have begun to select the 99 citizens who will participate in the process. 

Cabinet was updated today on the process of establishing the assembly, such as matters of procuring a polling company to select attendees. 

It is understood that Day is also due to commence roundtable consultations with gender experts shortly who might appear before the assembly.

Speaking at the announcement at the establishment of the assembly during the summer, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said no one 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,” he said.

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

Through the assembly, the government wants to hear 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 in particular.

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

After this, 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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