Free childcare would be a “gamechanger” for women, Newstalk Breakfast presenter Ciara Kelly has said.
Today is the 112th International Women’s Day – a global celebration of the sisterhood and all women have achieved.
Ciara described International Women’s Day as a “bit tokenistic” but still thinks it is an important to mark regardless.
“To me, if we want to do something pragmatic to change the role of women in society and to level the playing field… if we make childcare free, we would give women an actual choice about whether or not they chose to go to work,” she said.
“Many women are forced to go to work for financial reasons - and perhaps wouldn’t go if they had that choice and I think they don’t always have it.
“But also, if you’re a woman in particularly low paid work, work isn’t really an option for you because childcare costs more than you will earn and you will live out your days in a poverty trap."
Ciara said that free childcare would create more opportunities for all women.
“[Then] we can make actual choices - and I think that is an important game changer and that’s what I’d like to see if I could aspire to anything for women over the next decade or two.”
The 2020 Programme for Government pledged to “assist in the expansion of high-quality childcare, spearheading leadership, best practice and innovation and professional development in community and private settings.”
According to the OECD, childcare in Ireland is among the most expensive in Europe and the cost has made 61% of parents with young children consider whether they can afford another child.
The Government has announced it will hold referendums in November to promote gender equality.
Main image: Ciara Kelly.