Call for talks to address gender inequality in pay and pensions

A CALL will today be made for the upcoming national pay talks to address the inequality in pay and pensions experienced by women in the workforce.

The issue will be one of a number raised at the Irish Congress of Trade Union’s Women’s Conference which is being held over the next two days to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The 180 delegates gathering for the conference in Tralee today will debate a number of issues including the gender pay and pension gap, support for working parents, childcare, workplace, equality and women in leadership.

SIPTU’s motion on pay inequality claims traditional ways of measuring the gap between men and women does not fully reflect the real disparities between the sex’s income over the entire life course.

“Issues such as pensions and paid leave must be factored in,” the union’s motion claims. These issues must be highlighted in the context of organising women, young people and migrant workers.

The union calls for research to be commissioned in the near future to provide more accurate and holistic statistics for comparing incomes throughout the life cycle and also that trade unions put the pay pensions disparity at the forefront in future collective agreements.

The conference will hear from national and international speakers, including Jo Morris from the Trades Union Congress, Ambassador Ramaidi of the Lesotho Embassy and Yahaya Msangi of the Tanzanian Plantation & Agricultural Workers’ Union.

Meanwhile, at Buswell’s Hotel yesterday, a plaque was raised to commemorate the Queen’s Institute, the first technical training college for women which was opened in 1861.

The plaque honours Anne Jellicoe, the institute’s prime mover, who also established Alexandra College for girls. The plaque was unveiled by Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin.

Ms Jellicoe founded the institute because women in the 1860s did not just want to work as governesses and domestics, they also wanted challenging and interesting careers and the same rights as men.

www.internationalwomensday.com

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