Economic and Social Council 1st Commission (Sustainable Development)


Mirjam Rothkamm

Cite as

Committee: Economic and Social Council 1st Commission (Sustainable Development)

Country: Ireland

Delegate: Mirjam Rothkamm

Topic: Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment


The misrepresentation of women in the workplace has been an ongoing issue in the global economy since the emergence of society. Within many high-profile companies it is incredibly difficult to find more than 1 or 2 women on the executive board, and extremely difficult to find a female CEO. The imbalance between male and female participation in the economy is a problem that affects every single country and nation. However, it is only over the last few decades that this issue has been taken more seriously.

Despite employment rates of women worldwide having risen drastically within the last 100 years, men still dominate the workplace, and inequalities such as the wage gap, and employment inequality remain. These handicaps for women are having a negative impact on the global economy, but also on the welfare and financial security of women worldwide. For instance, studies show that women are substantially less likely to receive occupational pensions than men in the same branch.

It is the duty of countries worldwide to promote the representation and equality of women in the economy, since a woman's right to work is her basic human right, and it should be treated as such. The female population of the globe contributes a proportionate amount to her respective economy, without ever receiving appropriate amounts of recognition for her work. In point of fact, a white woman earns an average of 72 cents to a white man's dollar, and this gender pay gap even intensifies between a white man and a woman of colour.

Due to the constant amelioration of the global market, all barriers preventing women from succeeding in the economy must be removed. To enable the best possible economic performance, all participants are required to be on a level playing field.

Current Situation

Currently, more women than ever enter the workplace, the European average for women's employment currently being at 58.5%. However, the economy is still dominated by men. For example, there are only a couple of countries in the EU where 40 to 50% of the government is composed of women.

On the other hand, several legislations have been passed in an attempt to improve women's chances in the workplace. Some examples are the Employment Equality Act of 1998, and the Equal Status Act of 2000. All the same, glass ceilings still remain across the industries, and many women feel their careers are considerably cut short by gender stereotypes, such as a woman's role in the household, and the under-representation of women in the economy. Many laws do not effectively combat barriers for women's careers, since many of these laws are being passed by boards with an under-population of women representatives.

Ireland, which is emerging as a EU-member with a strong economy, has some of the lowest employment rates for women in the European Union. In 2004, the participation of young women, aged 25 to 34, in the economy was at 76%. However, these numbers imploded during the Wall Street Crash. Today Ireland's women's employment rate is below the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co/Operation and Development) average. In addition to that, executive boards of major companies in Ireland are only 13.2% women, the EU-average being 21.2%.

History of Women's Economic Empowerment in Ireland

Ireland has always been moulded by its Catholic beliefs. Many of Ireland's traditions and laws are influenced by religion, for instance the Offences Against The Person Act from 1861, which states purposeful miscarriage to be a criminal offence. This influence of the Irish church on politics has also brought about a relatively conservative mind-set, which endorses the role of a woman as a mother and wife, and less that of a participant in the economy. One can see this mind-set mirrored in the fact that it is a significantly difficult for Irish women to be promoted or employed, even though many of these women are equally or more qualified than their male co-workers.

The European Commission's Education and Training Monitor found that, in 2015, 13.5% more women than men went onto third-level education, and only 5.7% of women left school in comparison to 8% of men. Howbeit, many women struggle to continue to third-level education, and to progress in their careers, as child-care is very limited in Ireland, and day-care fees are beco...