Joint Women’s Committee Seminar "Inclusive Growth – a route for achieving gender equality?"

9 Sep 2017

Minister Charlie Flanagan, Patricia King and Eileen O Gorman

7/8 September 2017 - The Midlands Park Hotel & Conference Centre

Nearly 200 delegates from Trade Unions North and South gathered for the biennial Congress Women's Seminar in Port Laoise (#ICTUWomen17) You can see pics on our Flickr

The seminar was opened by Charlie Flanagan TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, who outlined the content of the recently launched National Strategy for Women and Girls, paid tribute to the submission by Congress, and encouraged trade unions to participate in the public consultation on tackling the gender pay gap. Speech here 

Patricia King, General Secretary Irish Congress of Trade Unions, outlined the complex reasons behind the gender pay gap and made some suggestions as to how it could be tackled.

The Keynote address - Inclusive Growth and Gender Equality – the Scottish experience - was delivered by Dr Angela O’Hagan, Glasgow Caledonia University.

A series of workshops was held in the afternoon which saw delegates discussing a range of issues including:

  • Gender Budgeting – policy and practice, with inputs by Angela O’Hagan, Lynn Carvill  Eilís Ní Chaithnía (National Women’s Council)unfortunately could not make it and the NWCI are shortly launching work in this area (now launched) ;
  • Reform of Abortion Legislation North and South, with inputs by Kellie Turtle Alliance for Choice and Eilis Ryan, Trade Union Campaign to Repeal 8th amendment
  • Seeking Asylum – what are the particular issues for Women? Inputs by Zainab Salman and Taqwa Al-Hariri. This workshop also heard from Yvonne O'Callaghan of SIPTU, who introduced the Congress Global Solidarity film of the 2016 visit to Calais (see below) and the issue of the Right to Work for Asylum seekers was discussed. (Congress welcomes supreme court decision; Irish Refugee Council July 2017 policy paper; IHREC welcome supreme court decision; petition to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar)

Day 2 began with Guest speaker, Kellie Turtle on the UK Two Child Tax Credit Cap and encouraged people to support the rally in Belfast on 21 September.

Lisa Wilson of the Nevein Economic Research Institute spoke about the changing nature of Women's Work and what we can expect into the future.  

The Gender Pay Gap, Equal Pay and the role of trade unions - Panel Discussion was then chaired by Patricia McKeown, Congress Executive Council and UNISON Regional Secretary with Panellists including:

Geraldine Alexander, NIPSA - on recent successful equal pay cases in Northern Ireland

Linda Kelly, IMPACT on the attitudes of employers to gender pay gap reporting laws

and Karan O’Loughlin, SIPTU on some of the reasons for the gender pay gap and challenges presented for unions in pay gap reporting