President concerned at exclusion of Traveller and Roma women in our society #IWD2020
Home > News > President concerned at exclusion of Traveller and Roma women in our society #IWD2020
Extract from President Michael D’s Speech at Áras an Uachtaráin for International Women’s Day 6 March 2020:
“Women’s rights, and how they can be fully achieved, is a question that challenges the fundamental structures and values of our society. If we wish to realise full equality between women and men, we can only do so by ensuring women are enabled to shape the policies and participate on an equal basis, in the decision-sharing, decision-making and implementing processes that define and underpin their own society.
The Beijing Declaration
and Platform for Action brought strong political resolve and focus to the issue
of gender equality. It united women’s movements on a global scale, and brought
activists together in clear agreement on how to proceed in the pursuit of
equity and empowerment for women.
Since then, the promises
made by the Platform for Action have been converted into real actions in many
countries and regions, enriching and improving the lives of their female
We have, in recent times,
witnessed such solidarity through the coming together of many women in
different parts of the world, to share their stories as victims of abuse and of
the consequences of the imbalances of power.
Those stories have been a
salutary reminder too that no society, no matter how nominally ‘advanced’, is
immune to harmful regressions in the areas of rights painstakingly won. The
lesson is clear. It is that we must never let down our guard, be willing to
confront not just violence but prejudice and disrespect wherever it arises.
women have made considerable advances in terms of participation in third-level
education they remain considerably underrepresented in politics, on state
boards, at senior levels in public and civil service, and in many other areas
of decision making and policy formation. In higher education, approximately
three-quarters of Professors are male despite women comprising over half the
workforce in that particular sector.
workplace, the significant caring work undertaken by women continues to be
greatly undervalued in our society, and is a significant factor in the lower
economic status of women in this country.
of gender-based and sexual violence has undeniably improved, the prevalence of
violence against women remains a grave cause for concern.
concerning is the finding, in the Pavee Point Joint Shadow Report to
UN CEDAW Committee, that Traveller and Roma women are among the most
marginalised and excluded individuals and groups in Ireland today.
May I at this
point acknowledge the important work of Dr Sindy Joyce, a great human rights
activist, who is not only the first member of the Travelling community to be
awarded a PhD, but also the first to be appointed to the Council of State.
quarter of a century has now passed since that seismic moment when thousands of
women gathered in China to agree an agenda for women’s rights and empowerment.
It was to be a moment that would signify a critical turning point in our global
struggle for gender equity and justice.
As we approach the fifth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, we must renew our commitment to increasing women’s participation in decision-making, challenging societal norms and values, and confronting deep-rooted prejudices as we work to achieve a global vision of full gender equality.”