The Irish Government's Joint Committee on Gender Equality has recommended that a referendum take place in 2023 on the "woman in the home" section of the Irish Constitution.
Article 41.2 of the Irish Constitution refers to the support that a "woman gives to the State" by taking care of the home and also says that the State shall "endeavor to ensure" that mothers don't have to "engage in labor to the neglect of their duties in the home".
Critics have long called for the outdated language to be replaced and amended, while the Citizens' Assembly on Gender Equality recently recommended that Article 41.2 be deleted and replaced with language that is not gender specific and obliges the State to take reasonable measures to support care within the home and wider community.
The Citizens' Assembly has also recommended two other constitutional changes - to make the definition of family more inclusive in Article 41 and to refer explicitly to gender equality in the equality guarantee of Article 40.1.
The Government Committee's Interim Report on Constitutional Change has now recommended that a referendum should be held in 2023 to give effect to the Citizens' Assembly recommendations.
The Committee also said the Irish Government should do the necessary preparatory work and agree on the wording of the proposed amendments.
Committee Cathaoirleach(chairperson) Ivana Bacik welcomed the publication of the report and said gender stereotypes should have no place in the Irish Constitution.
"It has long been agreed that the way in which women and mothers are referred to in Article 41 is based on outdated gender stereotypes and should have no place in a constitutional text. In addition, the definition of family in the same Article has long been criticized for being insufficiently inclusive of diverse family forms in contemporary Ireland. The Committee, therefore, recommends that a constitutional referendum be held in 2023 to give effect to the Citizens’ Assembly recommendations on constitutional change," Bacik said in a statement.
"Several alternative options for wording are set out in the report. The Committee has sought the response of the Government on the proposals put forward, and now seeks the views of interested stakeholders, citizens, and members of the public on these options. We will be publishing a Final Report at the conclusion of our term as a Committee and will return then to the question of constitutional change."
To read the Committee's full report, click here.