Civil Society organisations call for referendum on care, women and family in the Constitution

Ahead of the Oireachtas debate on the motion to establish a Joint Committee on Gender Equality today (9th November 2021), civil society organisations have welcomed the setting up of this Committee and called on it to implement the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality in full, prioritising a referendum to make the recommended Constitutional changes in relation to non- discrimination (Art. 40), the value of care (Art. 41.2. on ‘woman in the home’) and Article 41.3 on the Constitutional definition of the family.

The recommendations by the Citizens Assembly are ground-breaking and send a strong and clear signal to Government and all decision makers that gender equality needs to be at the centre of our Constitution, our legislation and our policies.

These recommendations come after long campaigns by civil society organisations to reform our constitution to reflect a modern Ireland with the value of equality at its centre.

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council (NWC) said,

“We welcome and support the establishment of the Committee to discuss how we can best implement the comprehensive recommendations by the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality. In particular, we call on the Committee to prioritise the necessary changes to our Constitution on women, the value of care and care work and on the definition of the family.

In line with the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly, we urgently need to replace the sexist and outdated wording of Art. 41.2 of our Constitution and replace it with wording that recognises the value of care within the home and the wider community.”

Karen Kiernan, One Family said,

“The establishment of this Committee on Gender Equality is very welcome to drive forward the implementation of the wide-ranging recommendations by the Citizens Assembly. The recommendation to recognise all forms of families in our Constitution, not only families based on marriage, will finally recognise the diversity of family life in Ireland and particularly provide status and recognition to one parent families.”

Organisations supporting this call include the National Women’s Council (NWC), One Family, Irish Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL), Children’s Rights Alliance, Treoir, Family Carers Ireland and Care Alliance Ireland.


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, NWC, Tel. 085 858 9104.

Notes to Editor:

Full report on the recommendation of the Citizens Assembly

Recommendations in relation to the Constitution are:

Insert a new clause into Article 40 to refer explicitly to gender equality and non-discrimination.
Delete and replace the text of Article 41.2 (woman in the home) with language that is not gender specific and obliges the State to take reasonable measures to support care within the home and wider community.
Amend Article 41 so that it would protect private and family life, with the protection afforded to the family not limited to the marital family.