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Women's position in society is unlikely to change any time soon


Hillary Clinton lost out in the US election to Donald Trump, for whom 50pc of American white women voted, despite his controversial opinions. Photo: AP

Hillary Clinton lost out in the US election to Donald Trump, for whom 50pc of American white women voted, despite his controversial opinions. Photo: AP

Hillary Clinton lost out in the US election to Donald Trump, for whom 50pc of American white women voted, despite his controversial opinions. Photo: AP

At this time, when global attention is focused on the role of women in our society, due to yesterday's International Women's Day, the picture is not good from female point of view and the prospect of change is distant.

It seems women are paid less for the same job and are under-represented at the top in business and grossly so in national parliaments in what are supposed to be representative democracies made up of equal citizens.

There is a debate going on in an internet forum at the moment which purports to highlight "an insightful, and compelling exposition" of the male view on the issue.

It quotes a male maxim which is supposed to go back to ancient Greece. The maxim says "never make a woman equal, because she immediately becomes your superior".

That tells all of us the story of us men having difficulty with women in positions of power.

But it's also worth remembering that more than 50pc of white women in the recent US election voted for Donald Trump.

That they voted for a male candidate who was obviously a misogynist, and against Hillary Clinton, a female candidate who was equally obviously competent and experienced, indicates that women's position in the hierarchy of power in our society is not going to improve much any time soon.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Religious ethos pervaded Ireland

While I commend Taoiseach Enda Kenny for his impassioned Dáil speech on the Tuam babies scandal, he betrays a serious lack of understanding when he says that the nuns didn't break into our homes and take our babies.

You can be sure that the local clergyman and his ethos loomed large over the parents of these innocent young women. You can be sure that they were fully aware of the shame and consequences of having a "fallen woman" in the family in Ireland.

These families, parents, children and grandchildren were all victims of the religious institutions and their poisonous teachings. It is far too simplistic to say that society was to blame for the way these families were treated.

Do we blame German society for the Nazis' 20th century atrocities? No, we understand that that society was wilfully infected by a powerful and all-pervasive disease that branded certain sections of society inferior and worthy of the cruellest treatment.

The religious did not break into our homes and take our babies, but they certainly did break into our hearts and minds and strip us of our decency and compassion.

Sean Smith

Navan, Co Meath

We can still help homeless children

The revelations from Tuam are sickening and heart-breaking. Blame has rightly been placed at the door of both the State and the Catholic Church.

But what has largely escaped commentary is that, rather than these being supposedly two separate and unconnected pillars of Irish society, they were, and to an extent still are, densely interwoven strands.

The point is that both the State and society were religious, and rather than it being a force for good, on this occasion, the influence of religion was malign in the extreme.

Nobody can help those poor children now, but we can help the 2,549 children and their families who are homeless (as of last November, according to Focus Ireland). These are the 'mother and child' homeless victims of today.

Rob Sadlier

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

SF's 'selective recollection'

I write regarding the Tuam babies scandal. The families involved deserve the support of society in getting truth and closure and hopefully the investigation will deliver this.

Politicians of all persuasions rightly support the right of families to know what happened to their loved ones, but it appears that for one political party the families of the 'disappeared' in 'the conflict' do not have the same entitlement.

It is time to end selective recollection and for everyone advocating full disclosure to provide full information to all families about their loved ones whether in 'care' or 'disappeared'.

The concern expressed by Mary Lou McDonald, deputy leader of Sinn Féin on 'Prime Time' on Tuesday is to be welcomed but revelations by that party about the disappeared would prove that this is genuine concern rather than opportunism.

Name and address with Editor

Direct Provision also a scandal

One wonders how long will it be before there is another scandal with regard to young babies and children currently housed in the Direct Provision system?

Their treatment has been a blight on our national character for far too long now. Who will fight for these people, who deserve to be treated in a respective and humane way?

Paul Doran

Clondalkin, Dublin 22

North voted to stay in EU

Lord Kilclooney (the former UUP MP John Taylor) says that a majority in Northern Ireland wish to remain in the UK (Irish Independent, Letters, March 8). True.

But what about the majority who want to stay in the EU?

Brendan O'Donnell

Glenageary, Co Dublin

Shame of animal cruelty

The recent report by the ISPCA is testament to the levels of abuse of animals across this country. As the ISPCA only has inspectors in 17 counties, we can assume that huge numbers of cases go unreported.

Thousands of calls and investigations have resulted in only 15 prosecutions being finalised in court in 2016 and, irrespective of the levels of cruelty, no one was jailed. A paltry fine would seem to suggest abusers in Ireland have little to fear.

When it was introduced in 2013, the long-overdue Animal Health and Welfare Act was hailed as a piece of legalisation that would finally provide protection to our animals. Three years later, it would seem nothing has really changed.

The flourishing puppy farm industry, the greyhound business subsidised by taxpayers and the unrelenting cases of abuse are indicative of a Government lacking in basic compassion.

We Irish may be famous for many things, but kindness to our animals is not one of them.

Cath O'Leary

Glanmire, Co Cork

Irish Independent