On Friday last, the ICTU Women’s Committee organised a Seminar ‘Women Leadership and Change’ to mark International Women’s Day. In her address to this event the General Secretary of ICTU, Patricia King reminded delegates that despite women’s increased engagement in public decision-making roles, equality is yet to be achieved. Notwithstanding the fact that women are entering politics in greater numbers than ever before, men still dominate politics and power in Ireland with only 25% of cabinet posts held by women.
Globally, according to UN figures the pattern is no different, where only in 14 countries do women account for 50% or more of cabinet members. Congress urges political parties to select and support more women candidates in the future to ensure that women can achieve 50% representation in parliament within a reasonable timeframe.
While there have been improvements in the numbers of women working at the most senior levels in the public sector, private sector business has a long way to go. Currently, only one in nine CEOs are female while only 7% of board chairpersons are women.
The impact of the pandemic was not gender-neutral. From job losses and reduced working hours to spikes in domestic violence and more difficulties combining work and family responsibilities, the effects of the pandemic have hit women the hardest.~
Today we need to remember all women who have been in the vanguard of the national effort to keep us safe and ensure the provision of our essential services. They have made massive sacrifices and taken many risks to keep society functioning in the areas of healthcare, teaching, retail, the office, and in the home.
We will continue to work with our international colleagues to reinforce the need for all Governments to ratify ILO Convention 190, which is the first international labour standard to address violence and harassment at work.
Governments and employers who are members of the ILO have agreed on the Convention and have committed to improving laws, services, and procedures for preventing and tackling violence and harassment. Congress is currently in dialogue with Minister O’Gorman with a view to agreeing on a proposal on the introduction of Domestic Violence Leave in Ireland.
Congress also calls on Minister O’Gorman to progress the long-awaited Gender Pay Gap Information Bill as a matter of urgency.
We are looking forward to working with the UN Decade of Action programme which we expect will accelerate our progress to achieving the ‘2030’ sustainable goals agenda for women and girls globally.