Ireland plans to hold a referendum in November to remove references to a woman’s place in the home from its constitution., announced the government on Wednesday. While there has been a wave of social change in Irish history as the once deeply Catholic nation has seen the 86-year-old constitution amended in recent years to remove bans on abortion and allow same-sex marriage, “old-fashioned” references to the role of women in society will remain.
Article 41.2 says that the State recognizes that “by her life within the home, the woman gives the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved” and? “Mothers will not be forced by economic necessity to dedicate themselves to work in neglect of their duties at home.”
A citizens’ assembly, a forum used to debate possible constitutional changes, in 2021 recommended removing those references and replacing them with gender-neutral and non-discriminatory language.
Any kind of constitutional change in Ireland must be approved by popular vote and both the referendum to liberalize highly restrictive abortion laws as well as allow same-sex marriage passed by large majorities.
“I am pleased to announce that the government plans to hold a referendum to amend our Constitution to enshrine gender equality and remove the outdated reference to ‘women in the home’”Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement on Wednesday as the world celebrated International Women’s Day.
“For too long, women and girls have shouldered a disproportionate share of caregiving responsibilities, been discriminated against at home and in the workplace, been objectified, or lived in fear of domestic or gender-based violence” he added.
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