Thursday 8 December 2016

Liz O'Donnell: Irish women entitled to celebrate after a 40-year struggle for gender equality

Published 18/06/2013 | 17:00

When it comes to the role of women in society, the last 40 years have been transformative, particularly when it comes to the workforce.

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Joining the EEC in 1973 was a game-changer. Ireland opened up to the wider world economically and socially. The abolition of the marriage ban in 1973 was a seismic change for women. Prior to this, married women were bizarrely forced to leave their jobs in the public sector and in much of the private sector when they got married.

The introduction of free secondary education, however, in the 1970s, was the critical turning point for women. Before that, many low-income families could not afford to educate girls to second level, thus excluding them from university.

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