|The European Economic Community (EEC) was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957.
It was subsequently known as the European Community (EC) and later as the European Union (EU).
Ireland became a member on 1 January 1973.
When Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC, now the EU) in 1973, it became bound by Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome, 1957 which aimed to ensure that women and men would receive equal pay for equal work.
Each Member State shall during the first stage ensure and subsequently maintain the application of the principle that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work.
For the purpose of this Article, pay means the ordinary basic or minimum wage or salary and any other consideration, whether in cash or in kind, which the worker receives, directly or indirectly, in respect of his employment from his employer.
Equal pay without discrimination based on sex means:
a. that pay for the same work at piece rates shall be calculated on the basis of the same unit of measurement;
b. that pay for work at time rates shall be the same for the same job.
Treaty of Rome, 1957.
After Ireland joined the EEC, the coalition government passed an Anti-discrimination (Pay) Act in 1974. But an increase in oil prices in the Middle East caused an economic crisis here so they decided to postpone the expensive business of giving equal pay for equal work, or work of a similar nature, to women and men until 1977. However the EEC compelled the government to grant equal pay in 1976.
Another Employment Equality Act was passed in 1977 to deal more effectively with discrimination on grounds of sex or marital status in employment. The Employment Equality Agency, chaired by Sylvia Meehan, was set up in the same year to oversee the enforcement of the Act. The agency sponsored Schooling and sex roles (1983), a report by the ESRI now recognised as a benchmark in the history of girls in Irish education. The agency also fostered research into non-traditional jobs for girls, particular problems of women in employment and the need for maternity leave and childcare. They encouraged employers and workers to tackle sex-stereotyping in the workplace.
Further EEC directives ensured that:
- higher pay scales for married men than for women and single men in the public service were discontinued from 1977
- women and men received equal access to training, promotion, work conditions, pensions and to social welfare.
From this time on, the media frequently contained features on 'The First Woman', for instance:
- Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Minister for the Gaeltacht in 1979, the first woman cabinet minister in Ireland since Constance Markievicz
- Tras Honan, first woman Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, 1982
- Mary Robinson, first woman President of Ireland, 1990
- Gráinne Cronin, the first Aer Lingus woman pilot in 1979
- Mella Carroll, the first woman High Court judge in 1980
- Susan Denham, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, 1996
- the passing out parade of the first women soldiers in 1981
also the first woman bank manager, Gárda promotion, CIE bus conductor, the first woman to read the weather forecast on RTE ...
- Ireland joined the _______ in ______ and became bound by Article 119 of the ______________ which aimed to ensure that women and men would receive ___________________.
- What did the Treaty of Rome mean by the word 'pay'?
- What did the Treaty of Rome mean by 'equal pay'?
- Evaluate the historical importance of Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome.
- Why were the Irish government reluctant to implement equal pay for women in 1974?
- Discuss the impact of Ireland's membership of the EU on women's issues.
- Write a report for a newspaper or magazine on the EC refusal to allow the Irish government to postpone the implementation of equal pay for women until 1977.
- Research Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome.
- Research and summarise the present law on equal status by searching the website of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
- Research any 'First Woman'.
- Organise a class debate on one of the following topics:
- That we consider the government in 1974 was correct in deciding to postpone the implementation of equal pay for women until 1977.
- That we approve of the EU policy on equal pay.
- That Ireland has benefitted from the EU policy on equal pay.