Ireland will use International Women's Day as an opportunity to look at outdated legislation. The Irish government will hold two referendums on 8 March to propose amending two articles of the Constitution referring to women "in the home" and "the family".
This constitution was drafted in 1937, at a time when a Puritan branch of the Irish Church ruled public and private life. The referendum proposes to delete Article 41.2 of this text. It states that "the State recognizes that through their life in the home, women provide the State with support without which the common good cannot be attained" and that "mothers should not be compelled by economic necessity to work to the detriment of their duties in the home".
The wording "no longer reflects modern life," Deputy Prime Minister Micheal Martin said Tuesday, calling the language "dated." Eequality Minister Roderic O'Gorman told reporters that "archaic" and "sexist" references to housewives "have done nothing."
Another article of the Constitution is also proposed to be amended, so that constitutional protections are not limited to marital families only. The change "would recognise that families can also be based on lasting relationships other than marriage," Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, citing the example of a single-parent family or a family headed by grandparents or guardians.
In recent years, Ireland, a country with a strong Catholic tradition of five million people, has voted overwhelmingly in referendums to relax abortion laws and allow gay marriage. The final wording of the terms of the referendums is due to be approved by the government on Thursday.