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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 4 Dec 1975

Vol. 286 No. 6

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sex Discrimination.


asked the Minister for Labour if he will make a statement on the work since May, 1974, of the commission which keeps under review and identifies discrimination on sex grounds.

The task of the women's representative committee is to monitor progress towards the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission on the Status of Women and to make submissions to the Government on the legislative and administrative reforms which would enable women to participate in the life of the community on equal terms with men.

The committee has three subcommittees; one dealing with the area of employment, training, welfare and pensions; a second subcommittee is examining the important area of women and the law; and the third subcommittee is looking into the area of the treatment of women by the media.

The committee attaches particular importance to the question of improving industrial training for women and the need for the opening up of apprenticeships in traditionally male trades. It has drawn up recommendations for the training of girl apprentices, the expansion of training facilities for women who wish to reenter the workforce and for the provision of pilot schemes to train women in disadvantaged areas.

The committee has had discussions with the managing director and other representatives of the Industrial Development Authority to present the case for the creation of more skilled jobs for women in industry.

The committee are examining the Anti-Discrimination (Employment) Bill, 1975, which I recently circulated, and I look forward to receiving their comments on this piece of legislation, which is of vital interest to women.

In the area of women and the law, the committee have made submissions to the Minister for Justice concerning the reform of the law in relation to maintenance, desertion and illegitimate children. The committee have also pressed for the introduction of a scheme of free legal civil aid.

The committee are particularly active, through frequent meetings and correspondence with Government Ministers, as well as Departments and semi-State bodies, in seeing to it that all matters of concern to women are given the attention they deserve.

Is the Minister aware that AnCO to date, to the best of my knowledge, have not proceeded with the introduction of a wider range of training facilities, outside of stitching and sewing and that sort of carry-on? Secondly, would the Minister agree that the Minister for Labour's announcement regarding equal pay to come into effect on 1st January will be capable of implementation and, finally, will the Minister make representations to the Minister for Finance so that women will not be descriminated against in so far as the income tax code is concerned?

The answer to the three questions is "No".

In other words, the Minister's answer is a lot of bluff. I am asking for specifics.

I am trying very hard to be polite to Deputy Lemass. If a Member asks a correct question and knows what he is talking about, then I am glad to answer, but to ask a question which bears little relation to the one I have answered and to bring in extraneous matters is something else altogether and only shows that Deputy Lemass is trying to get a couple of lines in some newspaper.

The Minister referred to additional training for women and I am saying no action has been taken and I want to know why.

Order. I am calling Question No. 28.

No answer.