• Frances Fitzgerald

Investment in women will be key to Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery - Fitzgerald

Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP

Monday 8th March 2021

Frances Fitzgerald, MEP for Dublin and full member of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee, today (Monday) marked International Women’s Day (8th of March) by stressing that investment in women will be key to Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery.

Speaking in Dublin, MEP Fitzgerald commented, “Our recovery from COVID-19 is just beginning. However, we must plan and prepare this recovery carefully to ensure that it is inclusive of women and is gender mainstreamed. A recovery that is gender blind will do our society, our economy and women an injustice and a disservice. If we are to learn from the lessons of COVID-19, we must build a gender inclusive recovery.”

“There is so much potential to pivot our society to ensure it works for women after this pandemic. Crucial to this will be ensuring that women’s employment recovers at the same pace as men’s. We know that after the financial crisis, women’s re-employment was much slower than men’s. We cannot allow this to happen this time, women deserve better. However we can also use this as an opportunity to advance women in sectors where they are currently dramatically underrepresented like in digital, Artificial Intelligence and STEM.”

“However, we must also learn from this pandemic. Throughout, women have been continuously adding to their already disproportionate care responsibilities, taking on new tasks such as home-schooling, and trying to combine childcare with employment while at home. A recent survey by Chambers Ireland and Eurochambres found that 57% of respondents felt that remote working caused by pandemic restrictions made it more difficult to carry out caring and home duties, while 52% of respondents said that the pandemic has had a strong to severe impact on their work/life balance. The care sector needs a serious rethink, both at national and European levels. Yet this is not solely a social measure to advance gender equality but an economic imperative. The care sector in the EU is likely to create 8 million more jobs between now and 2030 as our society ages. It would be pure folly to not put more focus on this sector and to work towards alleviating the currently female-led burden of care.”

“With substantial EU recovery funds available, Ireland can put this funding to good use by investing in women, in female employment, in developing care infrastructure and developing our society to advance women’s rights. This is a major opportunity for Irish women, and one that must be taken advantage of.”

“On this International Women’s Day, I Choose to Challenge, and pledge to advance gender equality through the COVID-19 recovery.”

ENDS



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