Employment equality was essential to the achievement of gender equality in Ireland as it was prescribed as a core concept in the Treaty of Rome 1958, the Treaty forming the European Economic Union. Ireland’s membership of the then EEC in 1973 allowed it to follow the statutory acquis relating to that theory.
Despite this long commitment to gender equality in jobs, both in Europe and in Ireland, the attainment of real gender equality in the workplace remains a target for both the European Union and its Member States. Equal employment is a question of continuing interest both in Ireland and abroad. There is evidence of continuing discrimination and inequalities in the Irish labor market on a variety of levels, including gender, in the light of growing diversity and greater participation of women in the workforce.
Equal employment is desirable for people to reach their maximum potential, for the economy to make productive use of the talents and productivity of the population, and for society to improve social stability.
Employment equality is therefore acknowledged as vital to the complete inclusion of Ireland’s well-educated female workforce into the job market in order to optimize their personal potential; their capacity to contribute to economic development and ensuring that they have sufficient pension coverage and avoid the possibility of dependency in older years.
According to the European Commission, Irish women are more likely to work part-time, earn less income, and are not well reflected in industry when compared to men.
Although people management schemes, such as Excellence Through People (ETP) from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), have helped to overcome discrepancies in the workplace in recent years, women are always lagging behind when it comes to fair opportunity and income.
In certain cases, the Commission has noted that women are directly discriminated against where they are actually viewed less equally than men. Or they may be handled differently as a consequence of a policy or procedure that is not meant to discriminate, but nonetheless results in discriminatory care.
On International Women’s Day 2018, the NSAI released the following five tips for employers trying to resolve gender differences in the workplace:
Leadership Development: Organizations should ensure that a leadership development framework is available, even for part-time workers. There are many ways in which this can be accomplished, such as the implementation of mentorship, counseling, learning and growth services, 360-degree feedback, talent acquisition, and succession planning processes.
Put it in a Policy: Businesses should get an Equal Opportunity Policy that points out its goals and objectives with regard to equality, diversity, and inclusion. This strategy will then be enforced with support, diversity programs, and diversity preparation.
Middle Management Motivation: Providing line managers who inspire, help, and connect with their staff as the theory goes, people exit managers, not companies. Line managers need to get to know both their male and female employees on a personal level to appreciate what motivates them to do so.
Empower Your Staff To Innovate: Encourage employees in a company, regardless of gender, to have a voice in how they carry out their jobs as developments will only take place if diverse experiences are enabled to thrive to bring new ideas ahead.
Introduce Equal Pay Reports: Implementing Equal Pay Reporting is the only way that gender pay differences will be resolved as long as companies cannot see the problems, they will not be addressed. Similarly, recruiting and promotion processes must be routinely and transparently examined with respect to the contribution of the company for equality and diversity in order to ensure that problems prevailing in the past are resolved.
In order to represent the changing environment in the workplace, the NSAI’s Competence By People (ETP) qualification scheme has been revised for 2018 and improved the standards for inclusion and diversity organizations.
Companies applying for the scheme, which seeks to optimize the commitment of workers, must now indicate that they have a system in place that facilitates the growth of leadership. Applicants must also have a clear Equal Opportunity Strategy that defines their goals and objectives with respect to equity, diversity, and inclusion.