Ireland to hold gender equality referendum


Ireland will hold a vote in November on removing “outmoded” references to a woman’s place being in the home from the country’s constitution.

The Irish government said on Wednesday that it will hold a referendum on Article 41.2, which says Ireland recognises that “by her life within the home, woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved” and that “mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home”.

Any change to Ireland’s 86-year-old constitution must be approved by popular vote. The country has held 38 referendums since the constitution was written in 1937.

Ballots are counted at the count centre in Dublin as Ireland holds a referendum on gay marriage May 23, 2015. Irish voters appear to have voted heavily in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in a historic referendum in the traditionally Catholic country, government ministers and opponents of the bill said on Saturday. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Ballots being counted in Dublin during Ireland’s 2015 referendum on allowing same-sex marriage

In recent years, referendums to allow same-sex marriage and liberalise restrictive abortion laws were passed by large majorities.

A citizen’s assembly – a forum used to debate proposed constitutional changes before a referendum – recommended removing the references to a woman’s place in the home and replacing them with non-discriminatory and gender-neutral language.

Speaking as part of International Women’s Day celebrations, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “I am pleased to announce that the government plans to hold a referendum to amend our constitution to enshrine gender equality and to remove the outmoded reference to ‘women in the home’.”

More on International Women’s Day:
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Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar holds a news conference as Ireland plans to hold a referendum in November to delete references to a woman's place being in the home from its constitution.
Leo Varadkar

“For too long, women and girls have carried a disproportionate share of caring responsibilities, been discriminated against at home and in the workplace, objectified or lived in fear of domestic or gender-based violence,” he said.

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