Report examines Ireland’s record on women’s rights ahead of UN appearance

Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

A report assessing Ireland’s performance on combatting discrimination against women has been published by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission ahead of a formal UN appearance by the State.

The report will be presented to a UN committee next week to inform the UN’s review of Ireland’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is expected to lead an Irish delegation to the UN next Wednesday, where Ireland will be asked to account for its record in fulfilling women’s rights and equality in Ireland for the first time in twelve years.

The commission’s report has found considerable positive legal, policy and institutional developments since then.

The report notes strategic and legislative responses to gender-based violence; an increase in women’s representation in politics, in the judiciary, diplomatic service and on public boards; enactment of gender recognition legislation; and the introduction of marriage equality.

However, the report also raises a number of issues and recommendations, including the need for constitutional reform around stereotyping; the non-publication between 2014-16 of annual data-sets on women and men in Ireland; and the recommendations of various UN treaty monitoring bodies on sexual and reproductive health.

Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, said: “This Commission report will independently inform the UN questioning of Ireland. It highlights the broad spectrum of current equality challenges facing women across workplaces, across education, health, representation and broader society. It makes clear recommendations for action.

“It has been over a decade since the State last faced direct UN questioning on its actions in combatting discrimination against women and girls. Today’s report shows that while positive developments have been seen in some areas, including women’s representation and combating gender based violence, significant gaps in protection and equality provision remain, which need to be addressed.

“The women we spoke to across the country in preparing this report, shared a singular desire to make Ireland a more equal society.”

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