Bacik Welcomes Referendum Announcement
08 March 2023
Speaking today following the Government announcement that a referendum will be held in November 2023 on gender equality following the work of the Citizens’ Assembly and Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality, Deputy Ivana Bacik welcomed the setting of a date for the referendum - but she warned that it must include an expansion of the definition of ‘family’ in the Constitution.
Deputy Bacik said:
“Today as we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s welcome to see the Government announce that a gender equality referendum will be held in November – but it must cover all three of the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly.
“The recommended changes to Article 40.1 would reflect the Assembly’s wish to see constitutional recognition for the principle of gender equality. The changes recommended to Article 41 would remove the sexist language currently in the text referring exclusively to women and mothers as having a ‘life’ and ‘duties’ within the home. Instead, the proposed changes would insert gender-neutral language to ensure that the role of care is recognised, valued and supported by the State.
“The proposed changes would also ensure a more inclusive definition of ‘family’- beyond the family based upon marriage currently recognised in Article 41. This recommendation on the family must also be included in the gender equality referendum to be held this November.
“The recommendations emerged from the work of the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality; and the work of the special Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality which I chaired last year. Our Committee took the view that the 45 Assembly recommendations represent a blueprint for achieving a gender equal Ireland, and the focus of our deliberations was on how best to secure their implementation.
“In particular, the Committee developed a precise wording of the text for amending Articles 40.1 and 41 of the Constitution, and we called on the Government to hold the necessary referendum in 2023.
“Apart from constitutional change, our report also sets out comprehensive recommendations on a range of other gender equality measures; on childcare, care and social protection; on measures to address Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (DSGBV); on the role that education can play in challenging gendered norms and stereotypes; on the impact of pay and workplace conditions on gender equality; on how to achieve gender equality in leadership, politics and public life; and on how the gender equality principle can be protected through law and policy.
“I look forward to the implementation of all the recommendations, and to the achievement of a truly gender equal society. Until gender equality is achieved, our democracy will remain unfinished.”