Issue of gender parity spoken about in Seanad

Athlone based Senator Gabrielle McFadden has spoken on the need for further efforts to bring about gender parity in Ireland.

Senator McFadden was addressing the Seanad in a debate to mark the 100th anniversary of the granting of voting rights to women.

“For almost a century now we have had gender parity in the secrecy of the ballot box. Unfortunately, in that hundred years, inequality for women in many other areas has persisted,” she said.

“For example, in the area of pay there is still a significant gender gap. The average Irish woman worked from November 11 last year until the end of the year for free, by comparison to their male colleagues.”

Paying women less money for the same job with the same hours worked is considered gender-based discrimination, and is illegal under the Employment Equality Act.

Sen McFadden went on to blast the gender imbalance in Irish politics.

“In the 2016 General Election, there were 123 men elected,” she said. “In the entire 100 years since women gained the right to stand for election there have been only 114 women TDs. So, there were more men elected to the Dáil in the last election than there have ever been women T.D.s.

“Real equality can only be achieved by women and men sharing power with each other as decision-makers and gradually having more men supporting the give and take of gender equality.

“What better tribute could we pay to those pioneering suffragettes of the early part of the last century than to work towards gender parity in our parliament and in our society as a whole. And let us take on their motto “Words, Not Deeds”. Let’s not just talk about gender parity, lets push for progress and make it happen,” she concluded.

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