19 February, 2019 - Minister Mitchell O’Connor and colleagues lend support to ‘Dress for Success Dublin’

Cross-party parliamentary group on workplace equality established with Dress for Success Dublin, a charity that campaigns for equality in the workplace, to organise a clothing collection

Dress for Success Dublin’s annual campaign is held on March 8th, 2019 – International Women’s Day

Initiative drives continued awareness of the gender pay gap in Ireland

The Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. today (19 February 2019) joins her parliamentary colleagues in highlighting this year’s ‘Dress for Success Dublin’ campaign.

The charity, which campaigns for and promotes the economic independence of women and equality in the workplace, established a cross-party parliamentary group on workplace equality in May of 2018, chaired by Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee.

Today’s event draws attention to the ‘Dress for Success Dublin’ clothing collection ahead of the charity’s annual campaign on International Women’s Day. Minister Mitchell O’Connor will donate items of clothing to the initiative and encourages others to do the same to demonstrate support for workplace equality in Ireland.

Speaking at the event the Minister said, “Gender inequality in the workplace is a serious problem and one that has persisted without reason. Gender pay gap levels vary significantly across the globe. According to the World Economic Forum, the global gender pay gap currently stands at 32%. These figures were published last December and benchmark 149 countries on their progress towards gender parity.”

“Across the European Union, women’s gross hourly earnings were on average 16.2% below those of men in the EU, and 16.3% in the euro area, that is member states who use the euro currency. In Ireland, women are paid on average 14% less than men, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), in 2017. This is worrying because it shows the gap is widening, not narrowing, as CSO figures reported a 12% gender pay gap difference in 2012.”

Last year, Minister Mitchell O’Connor, in conjunction with the Department of Education and Skills, created 45 female-only professorial posts within Irish universities and Institutes of Technologies, to address gender inequality in senior appointments in Third Level institutions. A new ‘Gender Equality Enhancement Funding Call’ will also be established as an incentive to drive performance. Ambitious targets will be set for institutions to include new and additional gender-specific posts and a new Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality in conjunction with Athena SWAN.

“I have made the issue of gender equality an essential part of my duty as the Minister for Higher Education,” said the Minister. “There is no reason why a woman doing the same job as a man should be rendered a lesser person in the eyes of the employer and thus paid less. This is essentially what the gender pay gap is doing, undermining women, their importance and value in the workplace.”