Wednesday 21 February 2018

Constitutionally, women are still breeding machines

We need to change how we view a woman's role in society if we want our care of pregnant women to improve, writes Carol Hunt

Carol Hunt
Carol Hunt
Carol Hunt

Carol Hunt

It's dubbed the "woman in the home" clause. Article 42.1 of our Constitution implies quite clearly that every Irish woman should know where her place is in society. And that place is at home, having babies and minding the house. The excellent work of the recent People's Constitutional Convention recommended that the archaic article be amended to provide "gender equality and parity between the sexes".

The Government did not dare support that practical advice. The traditionalists would have had apoplexy. So, in addition to equal marriage, we got to vote on the age of the President which, though welcome, was hardly going to change the face of Irish society.

Neither, says you, would amending Article 42.1. Sure, don't we all ignore the lines that say: "By her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties within the home"?

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