Referendum on women’s place in the household to take place in November – The Irish Times

A referendum on gender equality and removing a constitutional reference to a woman’s place in the household is due to be held in November, the government has announced.

It follows the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality and the Joint Oireachtas Select Committee on Gender Equality last year.

Announcing the schedule on Wednesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that “for too long, women and girls have carried a disproportionate share of care responsibilities, faced discrimination at home and in the workplace, been objectified or lived in fear of domestic or gender-based violence.” .

Last October, his predecessor Micheál Martin said he would like to see a referendum on the constitutional clause on a woman’s place in the home in 2023, as the Oireachtas committee had preferred.

Article 41.2 contains an acknowledgment that “by her household life the woman renders a support to the state, without which the public good cannot be attained” and that the state should therefore “endeavour to ensure that mothers are not obliged to do so out of economic necessity work while neglecting their household duties”.

Mr Varadkar confirmed that the November vote would aim to remove the “obsolete” reference.

The Department for Equality will convene an interdepartmental committee “very shortly” to draft policy recommendations to get government agreement on the wording.

Minister Roderic O’Gorman said he intends to publish the general plan of one or more referendum bills by the end of June so that the Electoral Commission can be briefed and the bill or bills considered by the Oireachtas.

The government expects the parliamentary process to last around five weeks, with the law being passed by the end of September, after which a referendum campaign can begin.

In its final report in June 2021, the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality made 45 recommendations, including that Article 40.1 of the Constitution should be amended to specifically refer to gender equality and non-discrimination, and that Article 41 should be amended to include the Extend protection to the family, not limited to the conjugal family.

It also said Article 41.2 should be deleted and replaced with non-gender language requiring the state to take reasonable measures to support care at home and in the wider community.

The Oireachtas Committee was formed to consider the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly. Its final report, with its own recommendations and action plan, was published last December.

Last year, referring to Article 41.2, Mr Martin said the “devil is in the details” when it comes to the drafting of the proposal.

He said he wanted the greatest possible degree of Oireachtas consensus, noting that “the simpler we keep it the better from a constitutional point of view”.

Labor Party leader Ivana Bacik, who chaired the Joint Committee on Gender Equality, had previously said “the way women and mothers are mentioned in Article 41 is based on outdated gender stereotypes and should have no place in it have a constitutional text”. Referendum on women’s place in the household to take place in November – The Irish Times

Dais Johnston

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