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Scandalous Gender Pay Gap must be tackled in 2019

6 January 2019

Statement by Cllr Deirdre Kingston
Spokesperson for Equality

Speaking on Nollaig na mBan, Labour spokesperson on Equality, Deirdre Kingston has urged the Government to finally do more to tackle the scandalous gender pay gap of 14% in 2019 as another year passes without legislative action.

Cllr Kingston said:

"On Nollaig na mBan, as we celebrate the enormous contribution by women to every sphere of modern life, we can reflect on how Ireland has gradually transformed into a new kind of society with far greater parity between women and men.

"In 2018 we witnessed seismic change as the 8th amendment was repealed and abortion services commenced on the 1st January. Compassion and care have won through, but full equality still eludes us.

"Despite many progressive changes when it comes to women’s rights, the gender pay gap has only narrowed by four percent in the last eleven years. It currently stands in Ireland at 14% while it is as low as 5% in some other EU countries.

"For 2019, we can work to deliver a truly equal Ireland including by tackling the gender pay gap. We have been talking about gender equality and equal pay for over a generation and it is high time we implemented legislation like this to tackle the gender pay gap.

"For two years now we have heard government pronouncements that they would legislative for gender pay gap reporting yet we still have no bill from the Minister. Meanwhile the Labour Party bill continues to progress through the Oireachtas despite Fine Gael opposing it.

"We are calling on the government to ensure that all large companies and public sector employers are required to publish the difference in pay between their male and female employees each year.

"Despite achieving higher levels of educational attainment than men, women are still paid less for the job. It is wholly unacceptable for such a significant gender pay gap to exist in 2019.

"Making large companies publish the difference in pay would mean that over time this will highlight which companies are taking corrective action. Labour's bill can be quickly passed, and has received all party support so far. It is time now for action."