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Ending Gender inequality must be prioritised - Ó Snodaigh

14 December, 2004

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó' Snodaigh has said, "it is an outrage that women are still being paid less than men in Ireland in 2004." Deputy Ó Snodaigh was responding to a report published by the Central Statistics Office that outlined the gender inequalities that still exist in Irish society today.

Speaking in Dublin today he said: "Today there are more women in work outside the home than ever before. However there is still a disproportionate amount of women on the minimum wage and in the part-time and services sector. It is an outrage that women are still being paid less than men in Ireland in 2004. Women continue to earn one fifth less than men, the number of men earning more than €50,000 a year was over 115,000 while just 25,000 women exceeded that amount. The proportion of women at risk of poverty, after pensions and social transfers, was the highest in the EU in 2001 - at 23 per cent. These are just some of the shocking statistics which the Central Statistics office report highlighted.

"After years of economic boom it is totally unacceptable that we are still blighted with severe inequalities. While the people at the top of the social ladder continue to capitalise and make gains, many others are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their heads above water. The shortage of quality childcare makes it difficult for women to access full-time employment or to remain in the workforce.

"Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for the women's right to work and the right to equal pay. We will campaign for:

A. An increase in the minimum wage and the elimination of the gender pay gap.

B. Increased measures to create flexible, family-friendly working arrangements.

C. Paid parental leave as a right.

D. Extended maternity benefit from 18 weeks to 26 weeks.

E. Increased accessibility and relevance of enterprise supports for women returning to employment.

F. Allowing women to claim social welfare and other benefits as individuals, including atypical workers such as spouses assisting on family farms and in family businesses." ENDS

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