Gender Equality in Employment


Employment Equality was central to the achievement of gender equality in Ireland as it was contained as a key principle of the Treaty of Rome 1958, the Treaty which established the European Economic Community.  Ireland's membership of the then EEC in 1973 required it to adopt the legislative acquis associated with that principle.

Despite this lengthy commitment to gender equality in employment, both in Europe and in Ireland, the achievement of true gender equality in the workplace is still a goal of both the European Union and its Members States, including Ireland.

Employment equality relates to equality between women and men with respect to their treatment, opportunities, and economic achievements in the workplace. The concept is often viewed in relation to the workplace and labour organisations.

Employment equality is an issue of continued importance in Ireland and internationally. In the context of increasing diversity and the greater engagement of women in the workforce, there is evidence of ongoing discrimination and inequality in the Irish labour market on a number of grounds, including gender.

Employment equality is beneficial for individuals to achieve their full potential, for the economy to utilise the skills and productivity of the workforce efficiently and for society to increase social cohesion.

Employment equality is also recognised as central to the full integration of the well educated female population of Ireland into the labour market to maximise their personal potential; their potential to contribute to economic growth and to ensure that they have adequate pension cover and avoid the risk of poverty in older years. 

Employment equality is governed by a body of national legislation which deals with

  • Family Leave entitlements
  • Equality of pay for work of equal value
  • Protection of women during pregnancy

The following are the key pieces of legislation

The text of these Acts can be found on

Information on the national machinery for the implementation of these Acts can be found in the Legal Basis section of this website.

Additional links

For details on the various Topics available in this section, please select from the links below

Maternity Leave etc.

Women at Work: Labour Market Participation

European Perspective

Gender Pay Gap

Female Entrepreneurship