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National Women’s Council calls for Gender Pay Gap Legislation ahead of Citizens’ Assembly

Published: Friday, November 13, 2020

Ahead of its presentation to the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality which will be focusing on the topic ‘Women and Work’ tomorrow, the National Women’s Council (NWC) today (13th November) highlighted the importance of tackling low pay and progressing the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill as critical steps towards achieving women’s economic equality and closing the gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap currently stands at 14% in Ireland and has serious implications for a woman’s lifetime earnings, her life and career decisions, and her ability to live in older years with a decent income.

Jennifer McCarthy Flynn, NWC Head of Policy said,

“We urgently need to tackle pay inequality with harder measures such as legislation that provides for pay transparency. The current lack of access to, and transparency around gender focused data are significant barriers to removing pay inequalities between women and men. The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill would require employers to publish gender pay gap statistics within their organisations, thus identifying pay imbalances and providing opportunity for inequality to be addressed. Progressing this legislation needs to be a priority for the Government if we are serious about ending pay inequality for women.”

She continued,

“Increasing the minimum wage to the living wage is another crucial element of tackling low pay and closing the gender pay gap. We know that minimum wage workers are more likely to be female, young, migrants and those working part time. Sectors which were recognised as ‘essential’ during the pandemic, including childcare, retail, personal and social care services, are predominantly worked by women and have the highest numbers of low pay workers.”

She said,

“Women are still largely absent in economic decision-making spaces, such as corporate boards, with women from ethnic minority communities, including Traveller women, or disabled women practically invisible. The international evidence is clear that targets for women on corporate boards do not deliver significant progress. What is needed are binding measures, starting with a quota for women on corporate boards, to address the structures, cultures and biases that exclude women. International research has shown that quotas will open opportunities for women’s economic participation and improve the quality and innovation of boards while also increasing the profitability of companies.”

In its recommendations to the citizens this weekend, NWC will also be calling for legislation to support collective bargaining and for a national dialogue on reducing working hours and moving to a four day week.

NWC understands that other critical areas for gender equality, such as care, welfare and pensions, will be dealt with during subsequent meetings of the Citizens’ Assembly and NWC looks forward to engaging on these issues with the members of the Citizens Assembly.


For more information, please contact Laura Pakenham, Communications Officer, NWC, Tel. 085 861 9087.