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Opinion: We need to talk about a woman’s ‘life within the home’


Laura Cahillane (School of Law) wrote an article for the Irish Times on the subject of Article 41.2 in the Irish Constitution, commonly referred to as “the woman in the home” provision.

This year the Constitution turns 80 and the provision that caused most controversy when it was first published has only recently been earmarked for change.

Article 41.2, commonly referred to as “the woman in the home” provision, is a paternalistic throwback to 1930s Ireland that seeks to recognise the work done by women in the home and ensure mothers are not forced to work outside the home due to economic necessity.

While the sentiment may have been honourable, the language used is (in modern times in any case) insulting – particularly the reference to a woman’s “life within the home” rather than work in the home, and the desire to prevent mothers from engaging in the labour force “to the neglect of their duties in the home”. A further problem is that while this was described originally in the Dáil as a protective guarantee for women, it has never operated in this way.

Read Laura’s full article at:

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