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No feminist Budget 2019

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2018

How did Budget 2019 impact women and how can we measure it – this was the topic of a seminar organised by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) today, supported by the Department of Justice and Equality, and coinciding with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Speaking at the event, Jennifer McCarthy-Flynn, Head of Policy, NWCI said

“NWCI had called for the Minister of Finance to deliver a comprehensive Gender Impact Statement as part of Budget 2019 and were disappointed that this was not included on budget day. Although there were welcome developments in this budget, positive impacts for women were not due to a focussed and deliberate effort to improve women’s lives but a beneficial side effect of other budgetary decisions.

While we welcome the ratio of expenditure to taxation in Budget 2019, no real progress was made in increasing the overall tax effort, which is a key underlying feminist budgetary concern. We know that lack of sustainable social investment will inevitably keep, or transfer back, personal, health and community care needs to the unpaid, undervalued and often invisible labour of women.  The positive and welcome commitment from Government to introduce equality budgeting now needs to be followed through with the delivery of real equality outcomes through Budget measures for women.”

Last year, NWCI published new research ‘Towards gender responsive budgeting in Ireland’ that highlighted the positive potential of bringing together two sets of knowledge that have usually been kept separate: knowledge of gender inequality and knowledge of public finance and public sector programmes. Using the example of this year’s budget and its impact on lone parents, at today’s event NWCI aimed to highlight how gender budgeting could work in practice and inform policy decisions going forward.

Analysing the impact of Budget 2019 measures on lone parents, Mary Murphy, lecturer at NUI Maynooth said,

“While reversal of One Parent Family income disregards is welcome, the reality is that the re-structuring of that payment remains intact with the result that there are now only 39,000 recipients compared to the pre-crisis level of 87,840 in 2008.  Lone parents with children over 13 do not benefit from any income disregard reversal, and regardless of any care obligations, are required to seek and accept full time employment.”

Other speakers included Ronnie Downes, Assistant Secretary at Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI.

Link to NWCI’s research ‘Towards gender responsive budgeting in Ireland’ (2017)

The event was supported by the Department of Justice and Equality.


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, NWCI, Tel. 085 858 9104