In February 2013, the Constitutional Convention considered a proposal to amend Article 40.1 to include an explicit reference to gender equality as a fundamental right – 62 per cent voted in favour of the change.1 Eighty-nine per cent of participants supported amending the Constitution to include gender-inclusive language.2
Furthermore, 88 per cent of Constitutional Convention participants voted in favour of amending the clause in Article 41.2 on the role of women in the home.3 The Convention suggested that the provision should be made gender-neutral to take account of other carers in the home and recommended extending the provision to carers outside the home. According to Census 2011, there are 187,112 people providing unpaid care or assistance, the majority of whom (61 per cent) are women.4 The Government put in place a taskforce of senior civil servants from the Department of Justice and Equality to consider how best to include gender-neutral language in the Constitution. The taskforce is due to report back to the Government with recommendations by 31 October 2014.5
The position of women in the context of each of the rights outlined in the Covenant will be reviewed throughout this report.
FLAC urges the Committee to recommend that the State:
Hold a referendum, as soon as practicable, to amend the Irish Constitution to include gender-inclusive language, in line with the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention.
Resource the full implementation of the National Women’s Strategy.
Provide adequate funding for the National Women’s Council and women’s projects at the local level.
1 Constitutional Convention (2013) Second Report of the Convention on the Constitution, Dublin: Constitutional Convention, pp.8-9.
2 Constitutional Convention (2013) Second Report of the Convention on the Constitution, Dublin: Constitutional Convention, pp.8-9.
3 Constitutional Convention (2013) Second Report of the Convention on the Constitution, Dublin: Constitutional Convention, pp.8-9.
4 Government of Ireland (2012) Census 2011 Profile 8 – Our Bill of Health, Dublin: Stationery Office, p.34.
5 Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, Parliamentary Questions: Written Answers, [26581/14], 24 June 2014.
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