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Care and climate are linked, say feminists ahead of care referendum

Published: Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Care – who provides care, how they are supported, and the impact it has on their lives – is a climate issue which has been overlooked, say feminists and communities. New research shows that care – paid and unpaid – is less reliant on fossil fuels, and yet it has not been included in the government’s climate policy.

Speaking at the launch of today’s research, Collette McEntee of Feminist Communities for Climate Justice said:

“By its nature, care work is green work – 26 times greener than manufacturing jobs, and 200 times greener than agricultural jobs. It should be a key consideration in the climate action plan, helping us meet our climate goals yet Climate Action Plan 2024 makes no reference to it.

The vast majority of care work is carried out by women. It is often unpaid, frequently precarious, and usually undervalued. It is also key to women’s experiences of climate action, influencing the way women use transport and energy, and spend their money. This has important implications for policy on public transport, energy, and employment, yet it is not being considered.”

The Environmental Protection Agency’s newly published climate change assessment of Ireland notes that valuing care is an important aspect of creating climate policy that prioritises wellbeing and equity. The upcoming referendum on care presents a huge opportunity to value care and recognise the immense contribution of care to our society. It also presents an opportunity for environmental campaigners to consider care as part of the green economy.

NWC Director Orla O’Connor said:

“It’s absolutely vital that government considers the value of care work to our society and to our environment. The care referendum is an important opportunity to send a message to government that the Irish people want to see care recognised in all its forms. We want to see  sexist language removed, we want to recognise that a woman’s place is wherever she wants it to be and, crucially, we want to see care recognised in our Constitution and supported by legislation and policy.”

Feminist Communities for Climate Justice is a joint project coordinated by the National Women’s Council and Community Work Ireland.


For comment: Collette McEntee

For more information, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator, on sineadn@nwci.ie

Find the research here: https://www.nwci.ie/images/uploads/Feminist_Communities_for_Climate_Justice_Baseline_Research_(Care).pdf



What: Webinar: Care, Climate Justice, and the Upcoming Referendum 

When: Tuesday 6 January 2024, 1pm 

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/webinar-care-climate-justice-and-the-upcoming-referendum-tickets-796757672647 


About NWC

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters.

The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.

We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity. Find out more on www.nwci.ie