Labour publish Women’s Manifesto

8 March 2021

Ivana Bacik

To mark International Women’s Day, the Labour Party has published its Women’s Manifesto, Labour: Working for Women, to shed light on the opportunities and difficulties faced by women in Ireland. By producing this evidenced-based policy document and vision for the future, the Party aims to better life for all women in Ireland.

Announcing the manifesto, Labour Seanad Leader Senator Ivana Bacik said:

“Particularly since the successful repeal of the Eighth Amendment in 2018, International Women’s Day has become a celebration, both for and of women in Ireland. Across different workplaces, employers and firms have recognised it as a good way to acknowledge the immense contribution of women workers.

“This year, the day will be marked very differently due to Covid-19 restrictions. While offices remain empty and many women in Ireland and elsewhere bear the brunt of the pandemic effect, it is time to return to seeing the 8th day of March as a date for protest and for positive action. It is time, in particular, to address the many structural gender equality issues in the workplace that have become increasingly visible as a result of COVID.

“We know that women are much more likely than men to have to juggle ‘home-schooling’ while ‘working from home’; those women who remain in work as frontline workers often face immense difficulties in accessing childcare; and many more women previously working in hospitality, retail or related sectors remain out of work for the foreseeable future.

“Looking to pre-Covid-19 times, 2019 figures from the Economic and Social Research Institute found that, on average, women spend double the time of men on caring and more than twice as much time on housework. Along with this, women in Ireland spent about 20 hours more per week on care and housework than men. This ‘double day’ additional burden for women has become more pronounced with the closure of schools and childcare facilities – and with reduced access to support systems such as friends and grandparents – during the pandemic. For single parents, about 86% of whom are women, the demands of quarantine are amplified further.

“Labour, and the Labour Women section within the Party, has a strong track record on women’s rights in the workplace. We put forward the first gender pay gap legislation, we initiated the gender quota policy which led to increased numbers of women elected to the Dáil, we have led on laws to tackle discrimination on grounds of gender, and we were at the forefront over campaigns for women’s right to access contraception and abortion. This year, in keeping with our history, Labour is proposing another measure to advance women’s employment rights, by providing for access to leave for matters relating to reproductive health. In our Women’s Manifesto, we outline a full set of the policies and initiatives which Labour has taken over many years – and will take in years to come – to advance the cause of women’s rights in Ireland.

“We need a feminist vision for the future. In our Women’s Manifesto, we set out Labour’s vision for women’s health, women in the workplace, women with children, to protect against domestic violence and gender based abuse, a housing system that supports women, women in sport and women in politics. In 1990, Labour’s Mary Robinson rocked the system instead of rocking the cradle by becoming Ireland’s first woman president. Today, on International Women’s Day 2021, the Labour Party restates its unflinching commitment to fighting for women’s rights and feminist causes.”

ENDS

Labour: Working for Women can be accessed at this link: https://www.labour.ie/assets/files/pdf/lab_women_manifesto.pdf