Hundreds of people gathered outside the Dáil today, urging the government to take immediate action to address women’s rights and inequality.
The rally, organized by the National Women’s Council (NCW), called for rapid progress in tackling issues such as the gender pay gap and women’s under-representation in decision-making processes and companies.
“Women are also demanding a new national maternity home that is wholly owned and controlled by the state so that we can guarantee it will continue to meet women’s health needs in the future,” said NWC Director Orla O’Connor.
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“We are here today to call for significant investment in addressing the high cost of living and essential public services, including childcare.
“Our current system doesn’t work for women. We have some of the highest childcare costs in Europe and some of the lowest paid childcare providers. A public, not-for-profit childcare model will ensure access to quality, affordable childcare for parents and decent pay and working conditions for educators.”
The rally began with a minute’s silence in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Speakers included Mary Lou McDonald, Chairwoman of Sinn Féin, and Ivana Bacik, Labor TD.
Ms McDonald called for solidarity with Ukraine in her speech, saying Ireland must be “a global force for peace, demilitarization and disarmament”.
She said women would demand change here too.
“We are demanding our right to security; safe on our roads, safe in our homes and we demand the right to sanctuary and protection where we are at risk across Ireland,” added Ms McDonald.
During her speech, the Sinn Féin leader was berated by two women chanting “hypocrite” and “Maria Cahill”.
Raped by a senior IRA member as a teenager, Ms Cahill has criticized Sinn Féin’s calls for action on gender-based violence and how she was treated by the party.
Labor TD Ivana Bacik was introduced to the crowd as the woman who is likely to be her party’s next leader. She also expressed her solidarity with Ukraine and said she would protest in front of the Russian embassy after the rally.
She said today’s event shows that Irish women stand together with others around the world “who suffer violence and suffer discrimination and abuse on a daily basis”.
Ms Bacik also said she is campaigning for the removal of sexist language from the constitution as chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality.
No government officials spoke at the rally, but TDs and Senators, including Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill and Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly, were among the onlookers.
Other speakers included the General Secretary of the Irish Trades Union Congress, Patricia King, who in her speech highlighted the dominant role men play in key decisions in the economy and the judicial system. She said her human rights must be respected.
“Tragically and shamefully, 21st century women in a rich and prosperous Ireland continue to see these rights violated,” said Ms King.
“Women are raped, women are murdered, they are sexually assaulted, they are stopped, they are physically and mentally abused in their own homes. They are harassed at their workplace. So far, successive governments have failed to provide satisfactory solutions to these problems.
“Women are grossly underrepresented in almost every sphere of influence, including at Cabinet level, where women make up only 25 per cent,” Ms King said.
“Nearly 23 percent of Oireachtas members are women, at the local level nearly 24 percent. If we look at our business community, 87 percent of our chief executive officers are male.
“This is the reality for women in this country and totally unacceptable. If we are to achieve gender equality, this needs to be addressed urgently.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/our-current-system-does-not-work-for-women-hundreds-gather-at-rally-outside-dail-41414823.html ‘Our current system doesn’t work for women’ – Hundreds gather at a rally outside Dáil