Equal Pay

Each November, we hold an Equal Pay campaign to raise awareness of the gender pay gap and raise money to support more women back to work.

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average gross earnings of female and male employees.

According to the latest figures published by Eurostat (in 2014), the gender pay gap in Ireland is approximately 14 per cent, while the gender pay gap across the EU overall is 16.7 per cent.

The current gender pay gap means women in Ireland effectively stop earning for the year – relative to men – during the month of November.

Another way of looking at this is that women work for free for about the last seven weeks of each year.

Equal pay campaign Dress for Success
Our founder Sonya Lennon (left) and Chairperson Lisa Vaughan (right) with Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee, pictured at Leinster House during our 2016 Equal Pay campaign.

Equal Pay Day

The exact date of Equal Pay Day varies according to the pay gap in any given country and in any given year.  Based on the current pay gap in Ireland, we most recently marked Equal Pay Day on 10th November 2017.

On this date, we held a panel discussion with special guests, exploring the issues that contribute to the gender pay gap and our recommendations for addressing the pay gap and ensuring men and women receive equal pay for equal work.

The panel discussion took place at the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar, Dublin 2 on 10th November.  It was chaired by our own Sonya Lennon, and she was joined on the panel by:

  • Senator Ivana Bacik;
  • Jewellery designer and businesswoman Chupi; and
  • Youth mental health activist Jamie Harrington.

Read more about our panellists here.

2017 Campaign

In addition to our panel discussion on 10th November, we undertook the following activities as part of our 2017 Equal Pay campaign:

  • An official launch event (31st October);
  • A month-long media and online awareness-raising campaign;
  • A briefing for members of Dublin City Council at City Hall, hosted by Cllr. Claire Byrne (6th November);
  • A briefing with members of the Oireachtas at Leinster House, hosted by Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee (15th November); and
  • A fundraising fashion sale at our premises at 4 Ellis Quay – on Friday, 10th and Saturday, 11th November.
Sonya Lennon and Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee pictured with chef Vincent Blake and Andrew Rudd, owner of Medley Café Bistro, at the launch of our 2016 Equal Pay campaign.


The objectives of our Equal Pay campaign are:

  • To raise public and political awareness of the gender pay gap and advocate for change on this issue.

  • To raise public and political awareness of our work.

  • To secure support from employers, including commitments that they will tackle this issue in their own workplaces.

  • To raise funds to support our work in helping women to enter or re-enter the workforce.

Government Submission

In August 2017, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan TD, and the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD, launched a public consultation paper on tackling the gender pay gap.

The purpose of this consultation process was to invite views from interested parties to inform the development of a package of measures to tackle the gender pay gap, and to identify issues to be advanced through further discussion with union and employer stakeholders.

Dress for Success Dublin made a submission to this consultation, outlining the actions we believe need to be taken to effectively tackle the gender pay gap.  These include:

  • Undertaking research on how the gender pay gap impacts on lower-income earners and those with lower levels of educational attainment;
  • Introducing mandatory shared parental leave and addressing gender stereotypes;
  • Making childcare more affordable; and
  • Implementing measures to address the gender pension gap.

Our full submission can be read here, and further information about the Government’s consultation on the gender pay gap can be accessed here.

Get Involved!

If you would like to support our Equal Pay campaign by volunteering, donating or helping in any other way, please get in touch.

You can follow the campaign online and share your thoughts on social media, using the hashtag #EqualPayDfSD.