A recent Irish Times article highlighted some key facts around gender equality and the challenges facing women in the workplace.
Some women choose to leave the workforce to stay at home to mind their children and, of course, this is perfectly okay – it’s their choice.
However, what this article highlighted is the fact that many women don’t have a choice: they are forced to become stay-at-home parents as a result of high childcare costs, along with other characteristics of the Irish economy.
While high childcare costs obviously impact on all parents, there is no denying that, in many cases, it is mothers who sacrifice their career while their partners continue to progress in the workplace.
Some of the interesting points included in this article were as follows:
- Last year’s World Economic Forum gender gap report placed Ireland top of the table for educational attainment for both sexes. However, Ireland placed 49th when it came to economic participation and opportunities as a result of “lower female participation rates and lower average earnings for women”.
- Seventy per cent of Irish men are working, compared to just 64 per cent of Irish women. This latter figure is significantly less than the rate of working women in other OCED countries. In Iceland, for instance, 84 per cent of women are working, while the figure in Sweden is 80 per cent.
It is no secret that there is a gender pay gap in Ireland: here at Dress for Success Dublin, we highlight this issue in our annual Equal Pay campaign. The gender pay gap, along with extortionate childcare costs and gender stereotypes, has resulted in thousands of Irish women being forced to leave the workplace because they have no other choice.
We believe that mandatory shared parental leave, more affordable childcare, and initiatives to tackle gender stereotyping are amongst the measures needed to address the gender pay gap in Ireland.