Labour Blog

Labour Blog

Gender Inequality in the Workplace

Posted on April 12, 2017 at 05:55 PM

The Ireland our daughters are born into today is vastly different to the country of our grandmothers, and their mothers before them.

Women have served as our President and as TDs and Ministers in greater numbers. Women in charge of major corporations, sporting associations or media outlets are becoming the norm, not the exception. It’s certainly a long time since any majority would contend that a woman’s place is ‘in the home’.

And yet, while Ireland has gradually transformed into a new society with far greater parity between women and men, there is still much work to be done.

The Labour Party has always been at the forefront of progressive change. We are single-minded in our determination to remove all remaining barriers to full equality. Instead of paying lip service to the notion of empowering women, Labour has implemented real change, introducing new gender quotas for political parties and State boards to ensure a minimum threshold for the number of women candidates in governance positions.

Despite some improvements and a sea change in attitudes, women in modern Ireland still earn on average 13.9 per cent less than men per hour, according to the most up-to-date figures from the European Commission. Put another way, this amounts to women in full time roles working for free for just over a month every year.

This is not a uniquely Irish problem, nor is Ireland one of the worst offenders. A recent PWC report estimated that it will take an average of 95 years to close the gender gap across OECD countries.

In Ireland it is estimated that it could take another 15 years before the gap is bridged.

The Labour Party is not prepared to wait that long. So, we have published legislation to bring about wage transparency, by compelling large companies and public sector employers to publish their internal pay gap.

The publication of ‘Closing the Gap’ – a Labour Party policy on gender inequality in the workplace is a welcome development in Labour thinking in this area. But more will need to be done over the months ahead.

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