Speaking ahead of the Oireachtas Gender Equality Committee’s launch of its final report, Sinn Féin committee members Sorca Clarke TD, Réada Cronin TD and Senator Fintan Warfield have called for a commitment from the incoming Taoiseach that delivery of the Citizens’ Assembly’s recommendations will be a priority for his government.
Women want to see tangible progress by government in delivery of both reports’ recommendations during the remainder of its term in office, including holding a referendum on Article 41.2 of the Constitution in 2023, fully recognising the societal and economic value of care work, policies and investment that provide equality of opportunity for women and girls with disabilities and the elimination of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV).
Teachta Clarke said:
“It is accepted across government that gender inequality remains embedded in Irish society.
“The work undertaken by the Citizens’ Assembly and complemented by the work of our committee provides a coherent framework for ministers to develop a policy implementation plan against which progress can be monitored and evaluated. This work must be coordinated across government and expedited.
“Building on the work of the Citizens’ Assembly our committee has made a number of important recommendations relating to care work, people with disabilities, their families and carers. Like other feminised sectors the pay, terms and conditions for those in community care work are inadequate, as are the social protection provisions for carers. Neither reflect the true societal and economic value of this work.
“Our committee wants to see increases in wages and improvements in working conditions and progression opportunities across the caring professions. We also want the Department of Social Protection to bring social protection rates for carers in line with a minimum essential standard of living (MESL).”
Teachta Cronin said:
“I want to commend the work of the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality for the massive contribution they’ve made to public policy under the stewardship of Dr Catherine Day.
“Our committee has sought to complement the work of the Citizens’ Assembly and now that we have delivered our final report responsibility for delivery of its recommendations lies squarely with the incoming Taoiseach and his Ministers.
“Like the Citizens Assembly a considerable amount of our committee’s time was given to Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, and we are very grateful to all those who contributed so frankly to our considerations.
“Whilst the strategic objective of the Third National Strategy is to eliminate DSGBV women and their children in the here and now must be protected from abuse, violence and coercive control. As the Minister for Justice acknowledged during her evidence to the committee there is an urgent need to dramatically increase the provision of refuges across the country.”
Senator Warfield said:
“It is important to recognise that women’s experience of gender equality still begins at an early age. I want to make special note of the powerful young women who contributed to the work of the committee.
“We know that a majority of students consider their experience of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) to be poor. A new RSE/Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum is long overdue.
“The revised curriculum must address consent, gender power dynamics, and domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. This is not just the view of the Citizens’ Assembly and Committee, it is what young people are demanding of us.
“Students must also have access to a broad range of subjects to choose from, and these choices must not be rooted in gender stereotypes as remains the case across our educational system.
“The Department of Education must support and resource the education system by providing the resources necessary to truly open up all subjects to all young people.”