A couple of reports hit the desks of newshounds, recently, and in each of them we’re told that things ain’t so good if you’re female and a member of the LGBT community. Apparently,
- Women aren’t equal to men in the workplace and
- LBGTs don’t feel equal to straights in the workplace
A lesbian going on about female inequality is sure to invite a lick to the big visit to the red X in the corner, but listen up. A study, A Woman’s Place: Female Participation in the Irish Labour Market, conducted by the ESRI and the Equality Authority, spent ten years looking at the workplace and found that women now represent 42 per cent of the Irish workforce compared to a figure of 37 per cent in 1998. So more and more of us are working, no surprise there. However, the study also found that Ireland’s places of employment are some of the most sexist in the EU.
One of the writers of the document, Dr Helen Russell said:
Comparisons across Europe suggest that Ireland falls into the group with the highest segregation, alongside the UK, the Netherlands and Finland. Women have made significant inroads into a number of previously male-dominated occupations, but segregation by gender remains a strong feature of the Irish labour market.
If you thought that was bad enough, being gay as well as female brings another layer of inequality and worry into the picture.
The National Gay and Lesbian Federation (NGLF), published Burning Issues yesterday; a study to see what is on the minds of the LGBT community. Top of the heap? Inequality in the workplace.
Ailbhe Smyth, chair of the NLGF said:
The remarkable finding is the convergence of views about the burning issues, among such a diverse community. While equal marriage rights and child protection are the top political concerns, it is hugely significant that harassment and exploitation in the workplace is the number one concern.
I suppose with things being economically tough, and people losing their jobs all over the country, maybe there is a sense of shutting down the open-mindedness of the last few years. If you need to chop your workforce, the queer in the group be the first to go. Suddenly there is a cloak over discrimination.
According to Smyth:
In the current economic climate issues in the workplace surfaced as the fundamental concern of all respondents. Being able to work in an environment where you can be fully open about your sexuality without fear of discrimination was rated as the most important issue in the survey.
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