Number of men ‘looking after the home’ trebled in 10 years
Citizens’ Assembly meeting to discuss gender equality this weekend
Elaine O’Mahoney, from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), is pictured speaking at the Citizens’ Assembly as it met on Saturday to considers the subject of gender equality. Photograph: Maxwell’s.
The number of men who say their role is looking after the home or family has nearly trebled over the last 10 years, the Citizen’s Assembly has been told.
Elaine O’Mahoney, from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), said the number of men in this category increased from 7,000 to almost 20,000 between 2009 and last year.
The number of women looking after the home or family fell “significantly” over the same period from 527,000 to about 330,000, she said.
The Citizens’ Assembly is meeting this weekend to begin discussions on gender equality. The assembly, which previously examined issues including abortion and climate change, has 99 members and is chaired by Dr Catherine Day, a former secretary general of the European Commission.
The meeting heard that the gender pay gap for Ireland had risen slightly in recent years, from 13.9 per cent in 2015 to 14.4 per cent in 2017.
It was told that more men work in trades, IT, computing and managerial roles while there are more women in primary teaching, nursing and retail work. The median earned income for men is higher across virtually all occupations.
The assembly heard that men work longer hours than women, with 22 per cent of men and 6 per cent of women working 45 hours or more a week, according to 2018 figures.
Around 31 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women worked 40 to 44 hours. Last year, the employment rate for men was nearly 11 percentage points higher than the rate for women.
Ireland is seventh on the latest EU Gender Equality Index with 71.3 points (out of 100). The index measures how far the EU and its member states are from achieving a gender equal society and takes into account work, money, knowledge, time, power and health.
Most lone parents are women (about 143,100) compared to 24,000 men. The at risk of poverty rate for single parents in Ireland has fallen to 36.3 per cent compared to the EU average of 35.3 per cent, the meeting heard.
Women (47 per cent) are more likely than men (39 per cent) to have a third level education, according to the CSO figures presented to the assembly.
In terms of politics and public life, Ms O’Mahoney said women are “underrepresented in national decision making”. The proportion of female TDs increased from 15.1 per cent in 2011 to some 22.2 per cent in 2016 following the introduction of gender quotas for political parties.
However, Ms O’Mahoney said there had been “very little change” in the latest general election with women filling 22.5 per cent of the Dáil’s 160 seats.
The assembly also heard about recent gender equality developments, gender norms and stereotypes and the personal experiences of a female quantity surveyor and a male emergency department nurse.
Submissions in relation to gender equality can be made online, by email or by post to the Citizens’ Assembly. The closing date for public consultation is March 6th.