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Government must end pension discrimination against women – Maurice Quinlivan TD

7 December, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD has called on the government to reduce the number of contributions needed to qualify for state pension eligibility from 520 to 260. Speaking in the Dáil during debate on the Sinn Féin motion to restore pre2012 pension rates and bands Deputy Quinlivan said

“Central to all of this is the notion of pension and labour market equality for women.

“In a 2007 report called “Pensions What Women Want” the National Women’s Council repeatedly emphasised the need to engender the Irish pension debate.

“Policy decisions taken in 2012 by Labour Party Minister Joan Burton have meant thousands of women are now actively discriminated against on the basis of their gender.

“Joan Burton’s 2012 policy was both gender and class blind.

“It failed to take into account the fact that for most women childbirth, caring and homemaking take up huge parts of their adult lives requiring them to move in and out of the labour market.

“The 2012 changes to the state’s pension regime resemble something from another era where women’s work inside the home is rendered invisible and of less value then participation in a male dominated labour market.

“The recommendations in the Sinn Féin PMB seek as a first step to address this inequality.

“At the very least such changes would also be beneficial for the many low income groups who experience cumulative labour market disadvantage and a high risk of poverty in old age.

“The report from the Low Pay Commission on the over concentration of women in precarious work - this means low pay, uncertain hours and exploitation, is now before cabinet.

“In the context of the pension’s debate the government need to recognise the link between the structure of the labour market, the social welfare regime and the increasing feminisation of poverty”.

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