Government approves referendum to delete article on 'woman's place in the home'

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan says it's clear Article 41.2 'has no place in the Constitution'

Government approves referendum to delete article on 'woman's place in the home'

Photo: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

The Cabinet has approved plans for a referendum on the reference to a woman’s place in the home.

Voters will be asked whether they want to delete Article 41.2 of the Constitution. 

Critics have long argued that the article in the Constitution is outdated.

The vote is set to take place in October, alongside a previously announced referendum on blasphemy.

Both referendums will take place on the same day as a presidential election, if one takes place.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan says it's clear Article 41.2 has no place in the Constitution.

Minister Flanagan said: "It undermines today’s goal to achieve real gender equality by ensuring women have real choices about what to do with their lives.

"In fact, while Article 41.2 may reflect the prevailing social ethos of the 1930s, its inclusion in the Constitution was actually controversial from the very beginning. Even before the Constitution was formally adopted, a number of people argued it represented a narrow, discriminatory view that sought to confine women to one part of society only – carrying out duties in the home."

"Long overdue"

If members of Oireachtas approve the proposed referendums, a dedicated referendum commission will be established ahead of the planned October vote.

The National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) has welcomed the announcement.

Director of the NWCI, Orla O'Connor, said: "The referendum on removing the sexist and outdated Article 41 from our Constitution is long overdue.

"Language which ascribes a woman's life as in the home has never reflected the complexity of women's lives, nor has it ever given women any legal protection despite its expressed intentions."

"Article 41 fails women, as it does not encompass the reality and diversity of women's lives.

"The highly gendered language fails men by not recognising their work as carers, or the duties and responsibilities men have to be carers.

"Furthermore by only referencing care in the home, it also fails society by not recognising the different types of care, in the community as well as with family members and friends."