Sinn Féin Louth TD and party president Gerry Adams has extended solidarity greetings to women at home and abroad for International Women’s Day tomorrow.
The Sinn Féin leader is in Dundalk with Deputy Leader Mary Lou MacDonald who is spending the day in Louth attending a series of events to mark International Women’s Day.
In the course of her visit Deputy MacDonald will visit the Drogheda and District Support for Older People; the Connect Family Resource Centre; Moneymore; will give a talk in DKIT on ‘International Women’s Day – inspiring Change’; visit the Women’s Refuge in Dundalk and Outcomers, the LGBT group and meet party activists.
Gerry Adams said:
“International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to celebrate women who are active in society; in their communities, trade unions, voluntary organisations and the political institutions of Ireland.
“However, in many ways women continue to be second class citizens. Despite the progress that has been made in recent decades there is still serious inequality between women and men in the workplace; in employment rights; and in access to education and health.
“Women have been failed by the political system where they are continually underrepresented in both the Dáil and the Seanad. Politics remains an unfriendly environment for families and women, a reality that benefits no one.
“In this context I would urge the government to consider the six recommendations published earlier this week in a report that was conducted as part of National Women’s Council of Ireland’s ‘Women in Politics and Decision-Making’ project.
“Sexual harassment, abuse and domestic violence continue to be a serious problem.
“The Fundamental Rights (FRA) study on violence against women across the European Union, published on Wednesday, found that one third of the women surveyed were victims of sexual of physical violence. A shocking and harrowing fact.
“The research also found that austerity measures have a devastating effect on female victims of violence with cuts to vital refuge services being made by austerity touting governments, including our own.
“In this state there has been a reduction of 16.5% in the funding for frontline rape crisis’ services and more cuts are to come. This is unacceptable, dangerous and devastating.
“Women have been disproportionality impacted by government imposed austerity measures with cuts to maternity benefits, children’s allowance and an increase in the cost of living.
“A study carried out by trade union Unite has revealed that since the start of the state’s sustained economic woes, the pay gap between men and women has increased with more than one-fifth of women workers in low paid jobs. 600,000 women are living in deprivation or at risk of poverty across the country.
“Internationally girls and women continue to face additional issues like female genital mutilation and arranged marriages. Practices that must end immediately.
“Women on the island of Ireland and all over the world have won many battles for equality over the past century, but there are further battles ahead. The struggle for equality must continue.
“Sinn Féin is committed to creating a society which offers real equality; political, social, economic and cultural, for women.”