From today Irish women will effectively ‘work for free’ for the rest of the year

With Irish women on average earning 14.4% less than men, today, November 9, marks the point where they essentially work for free for the rest of the year. 

For the remaining seven weeks of the year, Irish women are essentially working for free due to the gender pay gap. Ireland's gender pay gap is 14.4 per cent, meaning that on average by women earn 14.4 per cent less than men, taking all workers into account.

This is caused by a number of factors, including fewer women in senior roles across industries, disproportionally more women in lower-paid positions and sectors, and more women in part-time roles, often because of caring responsibilities.

Paying a woman less than a man for the same role is illegal, however discrimination can also manifest in more subtle ways, such as favouring men for promotions because they are stereotypically seen as more natural leaders.


The government plans to introduce legislation that would make it mandatory for businesses to report their gender pay gap reporting as part of the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 (NSWG), although this has not yet been implemented. While this alone would be unlikely to eliminate the gender pay gap, it would show companies where they could improve.

The WorkEqual campaign, which was founded by Sonya Lennon, has been working since 2016 to highlight and challenge the gender pay gap. They have created a video featuring more than 20 Oireachtas members, as well as the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Green Party councillor Hazel Chu, talking about how we can tackle the gender pay gap.

WorkEqual All-Party Equal Pay Day Video

Today is #EqualPayDay in Ireland. From today, women effectively work for free, due to the current gender pay gap of 14.4%.

The #WorkEqual campaign has teamed up with elected representatives from across Ireland to raise awareness of this issue. Check out our video – featuring the Lord Mayor of Dublin; three Ministers of State; the co-Chairs of the WorkEqual Oireachtas All-Party Group; and a range of other Senators and TDs…

Please share this video with your own networks to build understanding of the #GenderPayGap and how it can be addressed.

Thanks to the following for their participation: Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee; Minister of State Ossian Smyth TD; Aisling Dolan Senator; Gary Gannon TD; Senator Ivana Bacik; Martin Browne TD; Senator Lisa Chambers; Neale RichmondTD; Senator Róisín Garvey ; Minister of State Niall Collins T.D.; Sorca Clarke TD.; Minister of State Peter Burke TD; the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu Green Party; Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD; Senator Mary Seery Kearney ; Christopher O'Sullivan TD; Senator Emer Currie - Dublin West; Patrick Costello T.D. - Dublin South Central; Senator Fiona O'Loughlin; Bríd Smith TD; Ged Nash TD; Senator Erin McGreehan Louth.

Posted by Dress for Success Dublin on Monday, November 9, 2020

The video notes that gender stereotypes perpetuated in schools, the media, advertising, workplaces, and even our own homes can reinforce the gender gap, so we need to challenge them wherever possible.

As well as this, the pay gap is unlikely to be closed without addressing women's unequal share of caring responsibilities. Things like improved childcare options, flexible working and shared paternal leave can help to address this. It's also important to improve the working conditions for those working within the care sector, who are predominantly women.


Employers can also be encouraged to prevent bias in recruitment and promotion, as well as reporting their own gender pay gap.

The campaign is also running a number of events this week, including free online panel discussions on the impact of flexible working on gender equality, and how to address the lack of women in leadership positions.

Featured image: WorkEqual

It’s time to level up your career. The IMAGE Business Summit 2020, in partnership with PwC, takes place on November 18 & 19. Get your (virtual) seat alongside some of the world’s leading business figures for two days of powerful discussions, interviews and masterclasses. Get tickets here.

Read more: 17 inspirational quotes from trailblazing women to lift your mood


Read more: Has Covid 19 killed traditional career progression? A career strategist explains

Read more: How to find out about maternity leave before accepting a job

The image newsletter