Leading international expert claims article in Irish Constitution does not reflect reality for most women

A leading international expert has said that there is a new urgency around gender diversity in leadership roles, despite policies that should have eased the problem around the globe.

Carol Kulik, Research Professor of Human Resource Management at the University of South Australia Business School will be the keynote speaker at a Human Resources conference at UCC next week.

Professor Kulik has said progress may be levelling off and that visible increases in gender diversity at the top may be masking deeper, systemic gender inequality.

She said: “The question today – in Ireland, as it is in many developed countries – is not whether women can or should work.

"The question is whether the work women do is valued as much as the work men do, and whether women’s work is as likely as men’s to lead to senior management roles.”

Ahead of her appearance in Ireland, Professor Kulik also suggests that Article 41.2.1 of the Irish Constitution clearly does not reflect women’s lived reality.

Article 41.2.1 of the Irish Constitution concerns women’s role within the home, and states:

In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

It is followed by Article 41.2.2 of the Irish Constitution, which reads:

The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

Professor Kulik said: “Today more than 60% of adult women in Ireland are in paid employment.

"Those women face significant challenges in the form of gender pay gaps, a lack of flexibility, and obstacles to career advancement.”

Ronan Carbery of the HRRC said: “Some countries are increasing regulatory requirements that monitor organisations gender diversity composition and practices.

"Organisations are under pressure to increase the representation of women in senior management roles and narrow gender salary gaps.

"It is these issues and many more that we will discuss at this conference in September.”

The event at the Human Resources Research Centre (HRRC) at UCC takes place on Monday, September 3.

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