Jennifer O’Connell: Even in a pandemic, it’s still a man’s world

The harsh reality is that without more women in positions of authority, women’s needs will never rank highly in a crisis – or at any time

Why do we have such trouble attracting women into roles of positions of authority? Let’s ask Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, due her first baby next year, who currently has no entitlement to maternity leave, why she thinks that might be. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Why do we have such trouble attracting women into roles of positions of authority? Let’s ask Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, due her first baby next year, who currently has no entitlement to maternity leave, why she thinks that might be. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

A thousand years ago in May, when I was writing about why I believed it was important for schools to reopen before the summer holidays, I heard from a lot of parents – mothers, mostly. I’d written that the arguments in favour of allowing children briefly back into the classroom were about child welfare, not childcare. Still, parents had an intractable problem: what were they supposed to do between then and September?

In the event, they muddled through, as they always have to do in this country. Somehow, they managed to hold on to their jobs, educate their children, care for cocooning relatives, pay the bills, keep things ticking over at home. But we don’t know at what cost.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.