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Fine Gael in Government failing women workers in the public and private sectors - Mary Lou McDonald TD

28 July, 2017 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Responding to figures published today exposing the low numbers of women in top jobs across the civil service, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has accused Fine Gael and the Taoiseach of failing women workers in the public and private sectors.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Whilst the figures published in the media today are disappointing, the low level of women in top jobs across the civil service has been a perennial problem under Fine Gael’s watch.

"Leo Varadkar’s failure to appoint an adequate number of women from Fine Gael’s parliamentary team to Ministerial positions tells its own story. 

“Figures published today show very little has changed since Fine Gael entered government in 2011. Despite women accounting for approximately 60 per cent of civil service staff just two women hold the position of Secretary General, or roughly 10% compared to their male counterparts. The number of women holding this post has fallen by two thirds in the last two years. 

“Figures tell us that female representation across the civil service starts to significantly decline as you move up the professional ladder, despite a government commitment deliver a target of 50/50 gender balance in appointments at senior levels. 

“The reality on the ground is that female representation at Principal Officer level has increased by just 3% over the last five years. The civil and public sector should be the gold standard of employment. Government must lead by example to ensure the women have the very same opportunities as their male colleagues to progress their careers. 

“It is also important that the discussion on the gender pay gap in the public, private and semi-private sector not be limited to senior positions and board membership. The majority of women working in the civil service are Clerical Officers, the lowest grade and the lowest paid.

"Women also make up the majority of workers in sectors such as childcare and retail, typically a low paid workforce on insecure contracts. Salaries, terms and conditions for these workers must also be considered in the wider debate. 

“Fine Gael in government is failing women workers. It’s time now for the Taoiseach and his cabinet to lead by example and ensure at a minimum that the civil service reform plan’s gender targets are met and commitments delivered on.”

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