Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, and Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton, are today (10 January 2018) hosting a symposium on the gender pay gap in Iveagh House in Dublin.
Moderated by broadcaster and journalist, Mr. Cathal Mac Coille, the symposium brings together over 130 participants including politicians, senior policymakers, business representatives, trades unions and academics.
The event was opened by Minister Flanagan and Minister Humphreys. Minister Flanagan welcomed this timely opportunity to focus on what is one of the greatest challenges that we still face in fostering gender equality in Ireland, and said:
“In this significant year, making a century since women achieved equal voting rights in Ireland, the time is right to make a great stride forward in advancing the gender equality agenda and implementing the commitments in the Programme for Government in this regard.
“Today’s symposium is intended to raise awareness of the factors underpinning the gender pay gap. However, it also seeks to go further than that. We want to set a challenge to identify the actions that can be taken to address the gender pay gap in Ireland. We have brought everyone together for this symposium as experts in their own individual fields - from the worlds of politics and government, of business, trade unions, the professions, academia and civil society. I look forward to what promises to be a dynamic sharing of expertise and diverse perspectives.”
Minister Humphreys said:
“Closing the gender pay gap will create a better and fairer society, but it also makes good business sense, bringing greater profitability to the economy as a whole. I am currently developing the Action Plan for Jobs for 2018, and will be listening carefully to the outcomes of today’s symposium as I set out to further progress gender equality through the Action Plan. We have already seen good progress in the area of female entrepreneurship and I want to build on that work.”
Minister Flanagan briefed attendees on the submissions received to the public consultation held between August and October 2017 seeking views on measures to tackle the gender pay gap. The symposium also heard from Mr Andy Klom, Deputy Head of the European Commission Representation in Dublin, about the initiatives under consideration in the European Commission to address the gender pay gap.
Participants heard from a wide range of speakers and panelists:
Dr Orlaigh Quinn, Secretary General, Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation; Morgan O’Donnell, Statistician, CSO; Dr Micheál Collins, UCD; Dr Christine Cross & Dr Caroline Murphy, UL; Dr Isabella Biletta, Eurofound (on behalf of Dr Christine Aumayr-Pintar); Orla O’Connor, Director, National Women’s Council of Ireland; Áine Myler, Director General of the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland; Mary Connaughton, Director, CIPD Ireland; Dr Kara McGann, Senior Policy Executive, Ibec; Patricia King, General Secretary, Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Emma Kerins, EU and International Affairs Manager, Chambers Ireland; Senator Ivana Bacik; and Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner, IHREC.
Minister of State Stanton, who will made the closing address, welcomed the work underway in the European Commission in this field. He emphasised the need for a whole of government approach, arguing that the gender pay gap is not the result of just one factor, and stating that:
“We need to take action now to make equality truly a reality for working women. Today’s symposium has offered useful perspectives on the way forward. The Government will be bringing forward a range of actions to tackle this issue, starting with legislation on wage transparency”.