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National Women's Council Calls On Government To "Value Care" To Progress Women's Equality

Stock image: Pexels

It says valuing care means paid family leave and accessible, affordable, quality childcare.

Care is central to the human experience and to women’s equality and this must be reflected in our Constitution, according to the National Women's Council.

The NWC has called on the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality to prioritise the necessary changes in the Constitution on women and the value of care in society by recommending the holding of a care referendum in 2023.

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council said: "We urgently need to remove the sexist and outdated wording of Art. 41.2 of our Constitution and replace it with wording that recognises the value of care within the home and the wider community.

“For too long, Ireland underinvested in the care economy, relying instead on the unpaid or under-paid care labour of women, including many young and migrant women. 

"Valuing care means having decent pay and working conditions and a social welfare system that ensures an adequate standard of living.

"Valuing care includes supporting women and men to combine unpaid care with paid employment, through better, paid family leave and accessible, affordable, quality childcare.

"And it is about meeting the support needs of disabled people of all ages and older people," she insisted.

"Constitutional reform can provide a strong symbolic commitment, but we also need investment in social infrastructure and public services to truly deliver a caring society.

"The National Women’s Council calls on the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality, which is currently discussing these proposals, to recommend the holding of the care referendum for 2023," she added.

The call was made at a seminar ahead of NWC’s Annual General Meeting on Shifting the Narrative: Moving to a feminist and inclusive Model of Care.

Roderic O'Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, commented: "The importance of care work in society, both paid and unpaid, cannot be overestimated as reflected by the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality in its recommendations, which are under examination at the moment by the Oireachtas.

"Respect for equality, diversity and inclusion in the provision of care are principles that apply to care recipients, family carers and professional care providers.

"Making it easier for families to access affordable, quality early learning and childcare which meets their needs, and encouraging parents to share responsibility for this care, are also important measures in addressing gender equality," he concluded.

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council spoke with Eoin Beatty about calls Fórsa has made for menstrual health policies in workplaces;




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