Press Releases

Press release by The Iona Institute

 National Women’s Council wrong to blame gender pay gap on lack of daycare places

Sweden has universal, State subsidised daycare but its pay gap is only 1 percent lower

March 2, 2012 New figures from the European Commission show that the gender pay gap in Ireland is 17 percent, which is in line with the EU average.

Today on Morning Ireland Orla O’Connor of the National Women’s Council said one of the major factors contributing to this is a lack of affordable daycare in Ireland.

Proof that the major factor is not a lack of affordable daycare places is provided by the example of Sweden.

In Sweden the pay gap is only 1 percent lower than here in Ireland and Sweden has universal, State subsidised and affordable daycare.

A more important reason for the pay gap in Ireland, as elsewhere, is that many more women than men choose to work in part-time jobs. (See note two below).

The 17 percent average pay gap for the EU compares hourly rates for men and women so in a sense the fact that more women work part-time is removed from the picture.

However, in reality it is still a big part of the explanation because the average woman who works part-time is likely to be earning less per hour than the average man who works full-time because fewer part-time workers are to be found in highly paid jobs.

International research shows that on average a fifth of women want to work full-time all their lives, a fifth would prefer to look after their children at home full-time, and the remainder want something in between. (See note three below).

Irish policy in regard to women, home and work should be aimed at facilitating all choices, and not merely the choice to work full-time.

Social policy cannot be aimed simply at the fifth of women who want to work full-time. It must facilitate all women.


Notes to Editors

1.  The Iona Institute is a pro-marriage organisation.

2.  According to Women and Men in Ireland, released by the CSO in 2011, 39,600 men worked less than 20 hours per week compared with 128,200 women.

3.  These figures are based on an analysis of research conducted by Dr Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics

4.  Last year The Iona Institute hosted a conference called ‘Women, Home and Work: Towards a policy that’s fair to all women’ at which Dr Hakim was the keynote speaker