The Commission on the Status of Women 
Report to the Minister for Finance

[Extracts from the report submitted to the Minister for Finance in 1972 and published in 1973.]

Establishment of the Commission
Terms of Reference

The Commission on the Status of Women was established by the Government on 31 March, 1970, with the following terms of reference:

'To examine and report on the status of women in Irish society, to make recommendations on the steps necessary to ensure the participation of women on equal terms and conditions with men in the political, social, cultural and economic life of the country and to indicate the implications generally - including the estimated cost - of such recommendations.'

Paragraph 21

In the remaining Chapters of this report we deal mainly with the instances of actual discrimination against women and our recommendations are designed to remove such discriminations. However, the removal of these actual discriminations leaves untouched a larger and more subtle area of discrimination consisting of those factors which limit women's participation even in the absence of formal discrimination, that is, the stereotyped role that is assigned to women, the inculcation of attitudes in both boys and girls in their formative years that there are definite and separate roles for the sexes and that a woman's life pattern must be predominantly home-centred while the man's life pattern will be predominantly centred on employment. It is from this type of cultural mould that formal discrimination arises and it is only by the removal of such traditional attitudes that women can hope to achieve complete self-fulfilment and equal participation in all aspects of the life of the community.


  1. What kind of source is this?
  2. Discuss this source in its historical context.
  3. Evaluate the extracts above as evidence for the history of women in or about 1970.
  4. What does the Commission identify as the main obstacle to removing discrimination against women?


  1. Compose a newspaper report of the publication of the report in 1973.
  2. Refer to Political campaign in Ireland above in order to research the Commission on the Status of Women Report in its historical context.
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