When Irish voters go to the polls this fall for the country’s presidential election, they will also vote on whether to remove a clause in Ireland’s Constitution that suggests women should prioritize work inside their homes.
Article 41.2 of Ireland’s Constitution says that the state recognizes “that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.”
On Thursday, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said in a statement that Article 41.2 “has no place in our Constitution.”
“It undermines today’s goal to achieve real gender equality by ensuring women have real choices about what to do with their lives,” he said.
In 2017, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission released a report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women stating that gender stereotyping remains common in Ireland. During the group’s research, “women and girls frequently expressed the view that stereotyping, traditional gender roles and prejudice impacted adversely on their lives,” the report said. It added that Article 41.2 is “evidence of such stereotyping” because the text “presumes that women occupy primary carer roles within the home.”
In March of last year, following a review of whether Ireland has properly implemented the U.N. convention that prohibits discrimination against women, the U.N. committee urged the government to remove Article 41.2 from the Constitution.
Another of the U.N. committee’s concerns was the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which restricted abortion in the country. That law was overturned in a landslide referendum vote in May.
This fall, Irish voters will also vote on whether to overturn a law against blasphemy, which carries a fine of up to $30,000.