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Gender Pay Gap must be addressed by Women's Commission

13 November 2017

Statement by Senator Ivana Bacik
Seanad Group Leader, Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has said that any blueprint to achieving greater gender equality in Ireland must include concrete measures to close the gender pay gap, such as implementing mandatory wage transparency surveys, as proposed by the Labour Party.

 It follows reports over the weekend that the Government is to launch a Commission on the Status of Women to tackle gender inequality in Ireland.

 Senator Bacik said:

“I welcome reports over the weekend that the Government is to set up a Commission on the Status of Women in an effort to bring about greater gender equality in Ireland. This announcement indicates that the issue is one of national importance.

“The degree to which gender inequality is still prevalent in our society has been increasingly evident in recent weeks and months in a number of ways, from the clear evidence of ongoing gender inequality in the workplace when it comes to pay and a lack of women in senior roles, to the serious and appalling allegations of workplace sexual harassment across various sectors; and with the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment gathering real momentum, never has the need been greater for Ireland to tackle the issue of gender inequality head on.

“With the reports suggesting the Commission will report back to Government in six months, we need to ensure practical and effective it measures that can be taken, will be taken.

"Just one of the issues in question is that of the gender pay gap, which at 14 per cent means Irish women in full time roles are essentially are working for free for around one month a year.

“Labour legislation currently in the Seanad seeks to bring about change in this regard, by putting the onus on employers in the public and private sector to regularly publish wage transparency surveys, to highlight any gender based pay discrepancies.

"I am delighted that the Government has indicated they will accept our Private Members Bill and I look forward to it becoming law early next year.

“I also note the recent establishment of a Gender Equality Taskforce to get to grips with inequality in Higher Education where as we know from figures released last July from the Higher Education Authority, we have specific problems with a lack of progression and promotion of women.

“Despite real progress for women in Ireland in recent years, we still have huge issues with equality here. While this will also require a shift in mind-set, there are tangible steps we can take to get to grips with tackle the gender inequality head on.”