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NWCI calls for a public discussion before the Women in the Home referendum

Published: Wednesday, September 05, 2018

In advance of a meeting by the Justice and Equality Oireachtas Committee today to decide if pre legislative scrutiny will take place on the proposal to delete Article 41.2 (women in the home) from the Constitution, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) is calling on the Government and the Committee to ensure that the referendum does not take place on October 26, and instead, that they should facilitate a public discussion, through a forum like a Citizens Assembly or Constitutional Convention.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“NWCI is calling for the Oireachtas Committee and the Government to facilitate a national discussion before the referendum on Article 41.2 proceeds. The language, which refers to a woman’s ‘life in the home’ and ‘duties in the home’, is undoubtedly sexist and discriminatory, and in practice, has been little more than symbolic. While there is no place for such sexist language in our Constitution, NWCI and our members believe that the referendum should not happen before first listening to the voices of women and men in all their diversity, through a public forum such as the Citizens Assembly or Constitutional Convention.”


Orla O’Connor continued,

“A public conversation is necessary so that the referendum debate can be informed and the issues surrounding the article can be explored and concrete proposals developed which the Government can act on and be held to account. The forum should consider what we want to see in our Constitution and in addition, go beyond that to what we need in legislation, policy, and investment to facilitate the women and men make real choices regarding care, family and paid work.”


Orla O’Connor concluded,

 “If a simple deletion of Article 41.2 is put to the people, we are only offering the option of removing an old-fashioned definition of the home and women’s role in society, and we are missing this unique opportunity to express the positive contribution of equality in the home, care and work of all kinds.”


“This will mean considering issues that NWCI has long campaigned on – providing comprehensive family leave, including maternity leave, paid paternity leave and a period of well-paid parental leave; investing in publicly subsidised, quality, affordable childcare; and providing recognition for care through a universal pension system.”


For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, 085 8619087, or 01 6709100