The Irish Constitution’s ‘offensive, outdated and sexist’ reference to the woman’s life within the home should be “torn up and thrown in the bin”, according to Ciara Kelly.
She was speaking after the Irish National Women’s Council called for a referendum to remove the “outdated and sexist language” from the Constitution.
The council is calling for Article 41.2 to be updated with reference to a woman’s ‘life within the home’ replaced with a gender-neutral definition that “enshrines the value of care” into the Constitution.
The council has been calling for Constitutional change since it was created 50 years ago this year – and is once again highlighting the issue ahead of International Women’s Day, which fall tomorrow.
Ciara said she fully supports the call for a referendum.
“I would go even further and say - and I am very loath to use this term because I don’t use it very often and I don’t feel it very often - I find it offensive,” she said.
“The actual terms of Article 41.2 refer to a woman’s life within the home and I think that is outdated.
“Bear in mind one thing, I absolutely believe in the right of any woman or man who is a parent, who chooses - if they can afford to; good luck to them - to spend their life within the home raising their children. If that is what they want to do, I have zero issue with that.
“The idea that that it is [women’s] preeminent role in society, in Ireland, I find offensive.
“As someone who has always worked outside the home, who was a doctor and is now working in the media, you know, it wasn’t my preeminent role, my work within the home.”
Ciara said she views her role raising her children as “very important” – but noted that she “didn’t do it within the home as such.”
She said Article 41.2 should be repealed, without any need to replace it.
“I do find it outdated, I do find it sexist and I would like to see it just torn up and thrown in the bin,” she said.
Fellow presenter Shane Coleman said he also wants to see the article repealed – and does not see the need for any new “gender-neutral definition, enshrining the value of care”.
“I just don’t like this modern trend for elevating the rights of one group over another and for putting sort of vague, ambiguous amendments into the Constitution,” he said.
“One thing we learned from the 1983 referendum - which put the rights of the unborn in – is that when you start putting vague amendments into the Constitution there are a whole load of amendments you never consider.”
Ciara agreed: “Why would we replace it all? Stop putting things in the bloody Constitution.”
The IWC has said it wants to enshrine the value of care into the Constitution to ensure that carers can access “decent pay and working conditions” as well as a social welfare system that “ensures they have an adequate standard of living”.