Women's groups to shame Govt on 'equality failings'

The Government is set to be embarrassed at the United Nations over its poor record on women’s rights, it was claimed tonight.

The Government is set to be embarrassed at the United Nations over its poor record on women’s rights, it was claimed tonight.

Noirin Clancy from the Women’s Human Rights Alliance (WHRA) said a delegation of Irish women will highlight the State’s failures at the UN Headquarters in New York next week.

Ms Clancy said members would raise the issues at the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women’s (CEDAW) 33rd session, which will also be addressed by Minister of State Frank Fahey.

“By accepting CEDAW, Ireland committed itself to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms,” she said.

“In our presentations to the CEDAW Committee we aim to highlight the failures of this Government to keep to their obligations under CEDAW.

“Despite Ireland’s economic progress, our Government has failed to allocate adequate resources to eliminate discrimination against women.

“There is really no excuse for Ireland to have such an appalling record on women’s human rights.”

CEDAW was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 and Ireland signed up in 1985.

The convention is much like an international bill of rights for women, a legally binding document, which defines what constitutes discrimination against women.

The Irish women’s delegation, which is made up of representatives from Women’s Aid, Pavee Point, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), Banulacht, the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the WHRA will meet with the CEDAW Committee two days before the Government is brought before the Committee to be examined.

“It is very evident from the attitude and the record of the Government that there is resistance on their part, towards rights-based legislation,” Ms Clancy said.

“They sign international legally binding agreements but yet they do not abide by them.

“One of the ways we hope to make them keep the promises they have made, is by embarrassing them in the international arena, by presenting a far more accurate picture of what is happening on the ground with regard to women’s rights in Ireland.”

Ms Clancy said the Government had made some progress, but it had not done enough to address the under-funding of the women’s sector in Ireland, the inequalities in the provision of cancer screening services around the country, the under-representation of women in decision-making positions and the increase in violence against women.

“This is about persistent discrimination that continues to exist between men and women in Ireland,” she said.

“The Government has signed up to CEDAW; it has a responsibility and a duty to ensure that the terms of this agreement are met and that provisions are put in place to end all forms of discrimination against women.”

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