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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 23 May, 2019
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Constitutional Convention votes to alter 'women in home' clause

A vast majority of the delegates voted to change the article, with 98 per cent supporting a proposal to make it gender-neutral.

SHOULD THE SO-CALLED ‘woman in the home’ clause in the Irish constitution be altered?

According to the vast majority of delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Dublin this weekend, it should.

Article 42.1 was under discussion at the convention this weekend, and today 88 per cent of the Constitutional Convention delegates voted in favour of amending the article, which emphasises the role of women in the home.

The article in question states:

In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieve.
The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to neglect of their duties in the home.

Changes

Only 11 per cent believed the article should remain as it is. But if it were to be changed, 12 per cent were in favour of it being completely deleted with 88 per cent preferring that it be modified.

A huge majority – 98 per cent – of delegates said they supported a proposal to alter the article to make it gender neutral and to acknowledge the important role of other carers in the home.

There were other votes taken today, in which 97 per cent said they would like to see more government action to encourage greater participation of women in politics and public life. However they fell short of making a recommendation to include a provision in the constitution to require this.

Eighty nine per cent said they would like to see the constitution amended to include greater gender inclusive language.

Decisive statement

Committee Chairman, Tom Arnold said of the votes:

Clearly, the Convention’s delegates have issued a decisive statement regarding the way women are represented in our constitution. There is a large majority who feel that the constitution as it stands does not appropriately reflect the realities of modern Ireland and the members strongly believed that the constitution needed to provide for gender equality and parity between the sexes.

He said that there was “a clear sense that references to “him” and “his” were neither reasonable nor appropriate” in the constitution.

This is the second meeting of the Constitutional Convention. In January, it voted in favour of lowering the voting age to 16 but opposed reducing the presidential term.

Its next meeting, which will take place in April, will consider the issue of same sex marriage.

Read: Constitutional Convention to vote on amending ‘women in home’ clause>

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