Seminar told gender discrimination remains prevalent

The Equality Authority and The National Women Council of Ireland today hosted a seminar that explored a new vision for gender equal society. The Seminar contributes to the preparation of the Irish National Plan for Woman.

The Seminar was addressed by Marie Donnelly head of the gender unit in the EU Commission.

Niall Crowley CEO of the Equality Authority highlighted the persistent nature of gender inequality.

“Under the Employment Equality Act the majority of cases continue to be taken on the gender ground. Sexual Harassment , equal pay , discrimination in promotion and pregnancy related discrimination continue to be major workplace issues. Under the Equal Status Act significant numbers of claims have been made by woman in relation to access to golf clubs”

He stressed the importance of a vision for a gender equal society to guide progress and mobilise commitment. He set out the Equality Authority’s vision of a gender equal society “as a society where-

  • There is equality between woman and men in the economic, political, cultural and caring arenas
  • Women have achieved equality of access participation and outcome in all spheres of society both public and private.
  • The diversity among women in acknowledged, value and accommodated in policy and institutional practice”

He pointed out that realising such a vision will require the further development of the mechanisms by which we seek to achieve equality . This “development should include-

  • The inclusion of positive duties in equality legislation to promote and realise equality
  • Enhancing the powers of the Equality Authority to review legislative proposals for this impact on equality
  • Targeting resources on women and specific groups of woman to address the legacy of discrimination and meet needs specific to women and of specific groups of women
  • Establishing targets and timescales for change

Joanna Mc Minn, Director of the Nation Women’s Council told delegates that “while the gains brought about by the world wide social changes have been liberating for women, they have, however, not been shared equally between groups of women, and the lives of most women bear testimony to the huge gap between the political rhetoric of equality and the political will and resources to turn this into action.

The balance sheet of change is a story of confused, uneven, erratic and reversible changes through which many women have gained but many have also lost . That is why it remains critically important to work towards a vision of gender equality. Only a society that is committed to justice, a society that values human dignity, solidarity, autonomy, and equality for all persons, can ever achieve gender equality”

Ends

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