45 recommendations on gender equality

04. June 2021 Uhr

The Irish Constitution should no longer assign women a place in the home. This is one of 45 recommendations of the Irish Citizens' Assembly on Gender Equality. On 2 June 2021, the proposals were handed over to Parliament.

In the Citizens' Assembly, 99 randomly selected citizens had addressed all aspects of gender equality in Ireland. The Assembly was a reflection of Irish society by age, gender and place of residence. Due to the Corona pandemic, most of the assembly was conducted online. Sessions were held between 20 January 2020 and 18 April 2021.

Replace "women's place in the home clause"

The Citizens' Assembly proposes to replace the so-called " women's place in the home clause" in the Constitution with a non-gender-specific wording that requires the state to take appropriate measures to support care work in the home and in the wider community.

Citizens' Assembly participants also recommend amending Article 41, which recognises the family as a natural and fundamental unitary group of society as a moral institution. According to the Citizens' Assembly, the family should not be limited to the marital family. It proposes explicit reference to gender equality and non-discrimination in the Constitution.

Improve conditions for carers

Against the background of the Corona pandemic, the Citizens' Assembly calls on the government to improve the conditions for carers. It recommends choice in care and independence for older people and people with disabilities, as well as changes in care allowances and pensions for carers. It also said the government must make a special effort to improve the visibility of male carers.

The Citizens' Assembly also addressed the issue of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. It calls for gender power dynamics, consensual sexual acts and domestic, sexual and gender-based violence to be addressed in a revised Relationships and Sexuality curriculum . It also proposes the appointment of a Sexual Violence Victims/Survivors Representative to act as an independent advocate and voice for victims/survivors.

Increase the minimum wage

The Citizens' Assembly further calls for the minimum wage to be raised to a living wage level by 2025. Appropriate legislation should reduce the gender pay gap to 9 per cent by 2025 and 4 per cent by 2030 - with the aim of eliminating it by 2035.

A fully individualised social protection system should reflect the diversity of today's lives and promote an equal division of paid work and care.

Hold social media companies accountable

Technology and social media companies should be held to account regarding online content that constitutes sexual harassment, bullying, stalking, sexually violent or abusive content.

On childcare, the assembly has called for a publicly funded, accessible and regulated model of childcare over the next decade. The Citizens' Assembly also recommends that the state increase its share of gross domestic product (GDP) spent on childcare from the current 0.37 per cent of GDP to at least 1 per cent by 2030 at the latest.

Paid parental leave

Paid parental leave should cover the first year of a child's life and be non-transferable, provide lone parents with the same total leave period as a couple and be incentivised by increasing payment levels to encourage increased take up, says the Citizens' Assembly report.

Since none of the Citizens' Assembly recommendations can be implemented without the support of the government, a statutory body for gender equality is to be established and adequately funded. This is to be placed under a ministry that is to be charged with cross-government coordination.

Yes to gender quotas in electoral law

The Citizens' Assembly also had an intense debate on gender quotas in elections. Three quarters of the members support a corresponding change in the electoral law.

Citizens' Assembly members want to see changes soon, says Dr Catherine Day, chairperson of the assembly. The current pace of change is too slow, she says. Many bodies are not representative of Irish society because there are not enough women represented, she said.

"Groundbreaking recommendations"

According to the director of the National Women's Council of Ireland, the Citizens' Assembly has done a great service to Irish women by making "groundbreaking recommendations". The recommendations "send a strong and clear signal to the government that women's equality must be at the heart of our institutions," Orla O'Connor said.

If the Irish Parliament follows the proposals to amend the Constitution, it is expected that all citizens will be able to vote on them in a referendum in 2022.

More Information: Irish Citizens' Assembly on Gender Equality