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Huge concern over lack of attention to gender equality in economic decisions

Published: Monday, June 28, 2021

Speaking ahead of the National Economic Dialogue today (28th June 2021), the National Women’s Council (NWC) called for significant investment in a public childcare model, public services and the care economy to tackle persistent inequalities for women and build a better society for all.

Jennifer McCarthy Flynn, Head of Policy with NWC said,

 “Women came into the pandemic from an already unequal place and the pandemic has deepened those inequalities. The lack of attention to gender equality in economic decision making remains a huge concern. Despite record investment over the past year, there are key gaps in the provision of basic services that have not been addressed through last year’s budget, the National Economic Recovery Plan or the Recovery and Resilience Plan, including the absence of a commitment to a public model of childcare.”

“It’s long past time Government recognises that care is a fundamental component of our social infrastructure, no less vital than physical infrastructure such as transport and utilities. Budget 2022 must invest in a public model of early years education and care, adult social care and in a welfare state that facilitates women and men to play an equal role in caring and paid work.”

NWC rejects any prioritisation of ‘balancing the budget’ at the expense of public services or income supports.

Sandra McCullagh, Women’s Economic Equality Coordinator with NWC said,

 “We cannot have a repeat of the last financial crash, where policy choices were made at the expense of women, young people, lone parents, Travellers, disabled people, migrants and those on low incomes – many of whom have still not recovered from the effects of austerity imposed, post 2009.”

“Instead, we call on Government to use all of the fiscal and monetary levers at its disposal, including borrowing at low interest rates and generating tax revenue through fair taxation, to build our social infrastructure and public services. Investment in the care economy, and in a public model of childcare in particular, will help to generate the economic and social returns that will allow the economy to recover. The report of the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality with its strong emphasis on care, provides a framework to guide Budget 2022 investment”.

She concluded,

 “Inequality is bad for society and the economy so we call on Government to renew its commitment to fully gender and equality proof decisions about resources. This is essential if we are to build a society that is better for both women and men, based on public services, fair taxation, valuing the care economy, decent work, equality and sustainability.”

Key NWC recommendations for Budget 2022 include:

  • Significant investment in a public, non-profit childcare model and in adult social care supports
  • Implement Sláintecare to deliver universal health
  • Deliver a universal State pension
  • Increase core social welfare payments to provide an adequate standard of living
  • Ensure women benefit equally from active labour market investment
  • Increase payments for family leave and progressively increase the duration of paid leave
  • Increase investment in combatting violence against women
  • Invest in women’s community development sector
  • Gender and equality proof Just Transition, policy & investment and ensure needs of rural communities are met


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, NWC, Tel. 085 858 9104, silkep@nwci.ie

About the National Economic Dialogue: The NED is taking place in a virtual format on the afternoons of 28 - 29 June. The dialogue provides a forum for stakeholders to participate in an exchange on the economic and social priorities facing the Government. It is the principal institutional forum for public consultation and discussion on the Budget

About the National Women’s Council:

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.

Further information can be found here: www.nwci.ie