A reliable way to rate a society is to evaluate how it treats its weakest members.
Our housing crisis makes that metric relevant but that is not the only area where we fall short of the kind of standards that define a successful, mature society.
A report published yesterday by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Economic and SocialResearch Institute points to another area where we might be more supportive.
The long-term study found that we deliver the third highest weekly hours of unpaid work for menor women across 28 EU member states.
Adults spend anaverage of 16 hours a week on caring and 14.5 on housework. The report examined unpaid work in the areas of childcare, care of older adults or those with a disability, and housework.
It considered how roles have evolved and how we compare to other EU states. There are many messages in the report but one seems to stand out.
Our high commitment to unpaid work reflects the relatively low State involvement in support for caring and puts us in the same category as Southern and Eastern European countries, rather than idealised Scandinavian and Western EU states.
No-one expects to be paid to clean their home but it is very hard to argue, especially if we want present this as a cradle-to-the-grave caring society, that we should not do more to help those caring for dependants, young or old, who cannot lead independent lives.