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New National Women’s Strategy must be a key turning point for women’s equality in Ireland

Published: Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Speaking at the launch of the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2016-2020, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) welcomed the new Strategy and called for all Government departments to get on board to ensure the included aims are realised, and said that anything less than equality is unacceptable.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“The vision presented in the new National Strategy is ambitious, and NWCI welcomes the fact that this is a much needed Strategy focussing on women and girls in Ireland. The Strategy includes important recommendations on family leave, affordable childcare and pay and pensions, very importantly reiterating the Programme for Government commitment to gender budgeting. NWCI particularly welcomes the commitment to establish a Women’s Health Action Plan, a key campaign of ours over the last number of years, which will provide a real opportunity to focus on women’s health needs. The focus on Traveller and Roma women’s health is very welcome, particularly given the fact that Traveller women live less than twelve years on average, in comparison to settled women.”

Orla O’Connor continued,

“There are significant challenges to reach the vision of equality between women and men. Inequality for women is a persistent reality and as the Strategy is launched today, ten women will travel to access abortion in the UK and further afield, and more will order abortion pills online. In 2018, we urgently need to see a referendum on the Eighth Amendment – there can be no equality between women and men until women can control all aspects of our healthcare.

“The events surrounding the proposed relocation of the National Maternity Hospital is illustrative of the fact that we still face serious challenges both in terms of how we plan for crucial infrastructural projects of this kind, and the long running and contentious relationship between Church and State. Women living in Ireland deserve access to the best possible healthcare, and in particular to the best reproductive healthcare and this absolutely must be unfettered by creed or ideology.”

Orla O’Connor concluded,

“As it stands, this Strategy is a series of commitments, it requires significant investment and prioritisation of resources for key areas such as violence against women, childcare and women’s economic independence. The Strategy will only be realised if each Government Department gets on board, both in terms of providing leadership and investment.”

“The Ireland of the past saw our society exclude and deeply discriminate against women, to the point that we are only now uncovering the horrific consequences, particularly to women, and their children, who didn’t fit with the social and religious norms. We live in a different Ireland now, and we must say clearly that anything less than equality is not acceptable.”


For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, 085 8619087