THIS YEAR International Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated on Monday, March 8th. This global event is important for two reasons. First, it celebrates the invaluable contribution made through the years by women across all aspects of society, both here in Ireland and around the world.
Second, and equally important, it highlights the ongoing blatant discrimination and inequalities that women face, many of which are deeply embedded, and have existed and tolerated for far too long.
Recognition of these indisputable facts and a willingness to tackle them cannot merely be confined to events and statements linked to holding an International Women’s Day, rather the occasion should serve to remind us all that the struggle for gender equality is constant and needs to be highlighted and vigorously fought for on each and every occasion when the appropriate opportunity arises.
It is beyond doubt that the Irish State since its inception has not served the interests of women well.
On far too many occasions powerful male-dominated institutions deliberately contrived to ensure the role of women was undervalued, restricted and never afforded the true recognition it rightfully deserves.
In many cases the consequences of this deplorable misogynistic behaviour has taken years to surface and the accumulated unnecessary pain and suffering it caused is becoming increasingly obvious.
Issues such as the ridiculous practice of the marriage bar, the inhumane operation of mother and baby homes, and the health and life threatening consequences arising from the delivery of an inadequate cervical check service are to name but a few. Sadly, there are many more. Surely the biggest regret is that we had a choice, it didn’t have to be this way.
The treatment of women through the years is the polar opposite to the views of those who not only framed but gave their lives in pursuit of the aspirations relating to equality of treatment contained in 1916 proclamation.
Given the fact that the majority of Mandate members are women, it is of critical importance that we are to the forefront in fighting for tangible changes that will have a transformative and positive impact on their lives.
The following are a number of areas very much on our radar and we intend to ensure we play a proactive and influential role in the early delivery of meaningful change relevant to them.
Another current important issue deserving of our attention is the disproportionate negative fallout from Covid-19 for women both in relation to the significant job losses in retail in particular and the worrying evidence emerging regarding the increased incidence of domestic violence. It appears that we are about to see the introduction of extended paid parental leave, which is to be welcomed.
These are, by way of an example, just a few areas your union is presently seeking to bring about positive change. They are a practical demonstration of how we can deliver on key objectives which are clearly rooted in and around events such as International Women’s Day.
Across many facets of our society the struggle for gender equality continues. History shows us very little is conceded without a concerted effort driven by a clear unity of purpose, Mandate Trade Union is proud to be part of that collective.