Dáil Éireann - Volume 450 - 07 March, 1995
Written Answers. - Women's Earnings.
Mr. E. Byrne Mr. E. Byrne
48. Mr. E. Byrne asked the Minister for Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the fact that women continue to earn on average around 20 per cent less than men; the proposals, if any, he has to remedy the discrepancy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4762/95]
Minister for Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Taylor) Mervyn Taylor
Minister for Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Taylor): The ESRI in a paper entitled “Male-Female Wage Differentials: Analysis and Policy Issues” which was jointly commissioned by my Department and the Employment Equality Agency and was published last year, indicated that women's hourly earnings are approximately 80 per cent of men's, when all sectors of industry are taken into account. The report sought to identify the factors which contribute to the persistent sizeable earnings differential between men and women and to isolate residual factors which may be the result of discrimination.
Half the 20 per cent wage gap was explained by the ERSI as reflecting productivity-related factors, such as experience and a sustainable rise in length of women's employment during their lifecycle was seen as the most effective way of reducing this portion of the wage gap. The remaining 10 per cent gap could not be explained in detail. This reflects a lack of knowledge on the impact of wage determination process and very possibly the existence of discrimination. Measures to address both the length of service of women in the labour market and discrimination are being pursued on a number of factors.
I have targeted increased child care provision as one measure and a pilot child care project under the aegis of my Department has been introduced. This will be supported by an increased focus by EU Structural Fund programmes on  child care provision. In addition, the availability of flexible and atypical employment arrangements is also helping to meet the need to reconcile family and work commitments and thereby facilitate women remaining in employment. Statutory measures on maternity and adoptive leave also contribute and consideration is being given to the introduction of parental leave as an additional facility in this regard.
On the question of discrimination, I intend to bring forward amending employment equality legislation this year. In addition, the Employment Equality Agency is currently working on its response to EU developments so that it can better support voluntary initiatives at enterprise level on equal pay, equal treatment and equal opportunities to which the social partners are committed through the Programme for Competitiveness and Work.
Dáil Éireann 450 Written Answers. Women's Earnings.