Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.09 9 Nov 2020


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Women in Ireland are 'working for free' from Monday until the end of the year, due to the gender pay gap of 14.4%.

That is the message from the WorkEqual campaign, which is running a series of online events and awareness-raising activities throughout the month of November.

The campaign is marking 'Equal Pay Day' with the release of a video featuring over 20 Oireachtas members and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, speaking about gender equality.

Participants include representatives from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Green Party, Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, the Social Democrats and Solidarity-People Before Profit.

Sonya Lennon is founder of the WorkEqual campaign.

She told Newstalk Breakfast pay parity would benefit economic growth.

"Today is the day when women, effectively, start working for free for the rest of the year - based on the gender pay gap which has been released this year at 14.4%."

She said the reasons for this gap are "very complicated".

"It is based in legacy structures, how we do things - how we've done things - in the modern age since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

"Effectively, women have become a significant factor in our economies - which they weren't 100 years ago.

"But the structures of how we do business is really not fit for purpose for men and women to work together equally.

"In terms of the issues... we identified the five key areas that need to be addressed as caring responsibilities, tackling societal gender norms, flexible working, women in leadership and representation - I think we've seen a lot of that in terms of public discourse around decision-making in our own country - and finally the gender pay gap, which has been on the bills in terms of being mandated through legislation for companies with over 250 employees.

"We really want to see that pushed forwards now".

"The gender pay gap is more of a symptom than a cause, but it'll certainly go some way - and there's a lot of research to show that the legislation makes a really big difference to closing that gap.

"We're currently at seventh in the European zone at the moment, and it's taken us 10 years to move up two places.

"That progress is really just too slow".

"I think the biggest challenge for us is getting men to be part of the conversation.... the OECD says that we could be looking at a 12% growth in GDP by 2030 if parity is achieved.

"So this is about unlocking the potential of the female workforce".

Main image: (LtoR) Designer, tech entrepreneur and founder of 'Dress For Success' Sonya Lennon, Dublin Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee and Dublin City Cllr Claire Byrne launch a month-long equal pay campaign in 2017. Picture by: Rollingnews.ie

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Equal Pay Day Gender Pay Gap Ireland Pay Parity Sonya Lennon WorkEqual Campaign

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