Final Opportuntiy for Government to keep its promises to women in Budget 2007
13 Sep 2006
The National Womens Council of Ireland launched its Pre-Budget 2007 Submission today saying that Budget 2007 is the final opportunity for this Government to fulfil the many commitments that they havmade towards improving the lives of Irish women.
Orla OConnor, Head of Policy at NWCI speaking at the launch said that The Government needs to take specific actions in Budget 2007 to remove discrimination against women. It is simply immoral that despite so much prosperity, 45% of older women, many after lives spent parenting and caring, live in poverty.
This submission highlights the key areas of inequality for women where resources are desperately needed in the forthcoming budget, she said. Many of the inequalities which women experience have reached crisis point; issues such as childcare, social welfare, health, violence against women and womens participation in decision-making are impacting negatively on women every day. Over the lifetime of this Government commitments have been made to women under the National Anti-Poverty Strategy and the Agreed Programme for Government. Promises have also been made by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Seamus Brennan to make the Social Welfare system fairer for women. We are asking the Government to deliver on these promises.
In relation to economic independence for women, the NWCI highlight a number of areas where there is blatant discrimination against women. This discrimination has led to a situation where many older women, having spent their lives parenting and caring are now living in poverty. These areas of discrimination include the limitation rule which results in the majority of women on social welfare dependant on their husbands payment and also the fact that currently many older women do not have access to an independent income through the state pension.
The need to develop a quality childcare infrastructure in Ireland is now widely recognised. For this budget the NWCI are prioritising the introduction of paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers. We want parents to be able to choose to be at home with their child for the first year of life. The benefits to children of being with their parents in the first year of their lives have been recommended by national and international research on childcare said Ms OConnor.
Violence against women remains a very significant problem in Irish society. Research has shown that 15% of women experience severe domestic abuse and one in five adult women have experienced sexual violence. Funding for these services have not increased since 2002 leaving a situation where in 2003, almost 1 in 3 calls to Womens Aid went unanswered and 40% of women seeking refuge were refused accommodation. The NWCI are asking the Government to ensure that a national funding framework is developed ensuring that women can access suitable services.
For further information please contact:
Niamh OCarroll: 087 628 6171
Orla OConnor, NWCI 087 6483516 / 01 8787 248
When: Today, 13th September, 2006
Where: The National Library of Ireland (downstairs)
Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Time: 11.00am - 1.00pm