Emily Logan: 'Role of women in Constitution must go'
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission believes there should be a referendum on the article of the Constitution which presumes women occupy carer roles in the home.
Its chief commissioner Emily Logan said it believed the issue should also be voted on if there is going to be a referendum on the abortion question and the Eighth Amendment.
Article 41.2 of the Constitution says that the State recognises that by her life within the home, women give to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. It also says mothers should not be obliged by economic necessity to work, to the neglect of domestic duties.
"This article is considered by the UN and ourselves to perpetuate gender stereotypes. It says that women should be in the home," Ms Logan told the Irish Independent.
While the article is largely ignored in modern society, Ms Logan says it still needs to be removed because of the example it sets.
"The Constitution is your gold standard in terms of law. It is your basic rule of law and everything flows from that," she said.
"So if there is going to be a referendum [on abortion], we have suggested that also be the subject of a referendum."
If there is to be a referendum on the Eighth Amendment on abortion, Ms Logan said IHREC was not a body that could seek to influence the electorate.
However, she said IHREC endorsed views held by the UN that Ireland's abortion laws needed to be reviewed.
"The commission remains concerned that the current legal position in relation to abortion puts in place barriers which impede a woman's right to bodily autonomy and have a disproportionate negative impact on women from lower socio-economic backgrounds, women who are seeking asylum or migrant women when their immigration status prevents them from travelling.