“Women in Ireland have made very significant strides,” says Marie Sherlock, head of equality and policy at one of Ireland’s largest trade unions, Siptu. “But there are more women in lower-paid jobs in all sectors.” Women’s share of health employment has increased from 79% in 2008 to 81% in 2017, and the number of women in education jobs has risen from 65% to 74%, according to the union’s analysis. The Irish civil service and related state agencies has seen the greatest transformation, with women going from 38% of total employment in 2008 to 52% in 2017.
Sherlock says there is no single answer that will decrease the gender pay gap and the segregation of too many Irish women into low-paid, often part-time jobs. But she and her union are urging action on a number of fronts, including greater pay transparency and collective bargaining, to increase wages for both men and women.
Unions says unions are the solution to a problem.