Minister Mitchell O’Connor stands over her remarks about International Women’s Day

The Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has stood by her comments made on Thursday about a small number of men having an interest in International Women’s Day events.

“International Women’s Day is important,” she said. “I said yesterday, and I meant it, that despite the excellence of the speeches being made by women today, I seriously doubt that many men are going to contact the organisers of any of the events, afterwards, looking for copies of any speeches made. That is one of the limitations to International Women’s Day.”

Speaking after a Cabinet meeting on Friday (8th March, 2019), where further gender advancements were announced to include establishing a Citizen’s Assembly on Gender Equality and ensuring greater transparency between gender pay, the Minister said she stood over her remarks that International Women’s Day needs to be an event for everyone, men and women.

The Minister said, “I am heartened today to have come from such a momentous cabinet meeting. Today’s symbolic meeting held in the Academy Building on Pearse St, where the Irish Women’s Workers Union was founded on September 5th, 1911, was devoted entirely to women and shows the government are committed to advancing gender issues.

“The ratification of the Istanbul Convention sends a loud and definite message that we as a country do not tolerate violence. The ratification will protect women from all forms of violence. It will accelerate the prevention, prosecution and elimination of violence against women. Further gender advancements announced today include establishing a Citizen’s Assembly on Gender Equality and ensuring greater transparency between gender pay.”

The Minister continued, “Gender inequality is a societal issue, not just a female one, undoing the gender imbalance that exists in our society needs to be on the agenda every day, 365 days of the year, not just on International Women’s Day, we are undoubtedly making advancements, but we need more and quicker.”