100 members of the public gathered in Dublin Castle on Saturday, January 25, to begin the process of examining the “barriers and constraints” that exist in Irish society in terms of gender equality. As part of this, the chair of the Citizens Assembly said the discussion will include issues concerning the LGBT+ community in an attempt to recognise that “people are free to make the choices they want”.
In her opening address, chairperson Catherine Day said the assembly will be “inclusive” of all genders.
“We want this to be a very inclusive citizens’ assembly and we’re asked to look at gender equality so I think that’s up to people how they define themselves,” she said.
“It’s all about, are people free to make the choices they want to make or are some of them predetermined by laws or policies that may belong to another time or may reflect the wishes of the majority that we have to test in the assembly.
“Some may feel that this assembly will be about women’s issues, and it certainly will be. But gender inequality equally affects and involves men and the LGBT+ community.
“Our debates will be inclusive, and we will on succeed in advancing gender equality if everyone engages.
“The public good is advancing gender equality. Through their conversations, citizens can come to an agreement about what procedures, actions, or policies will best produce that desired public good.”
Members of the Citizens Assembly are selected at random from the electoral register. They should reflect Irish society in terms of age, gender, social class and regional spread.
Members of the Citizens Assembly on gender equality were selected through a door-to-door selection process, along with additional screening procedures.
Back in November last year, LGBT+ rights groups shared their disappointment towards proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Act as it fails to fully implement recommendations relating to children under the age of 16 and non-binary people.
TENI and BeLonG To stated, “While welcoming the proposed amendments, we are deeply disappointed that the Government did not take this opportunity to implement all the recommendations in the Review Report.”
They continued the changes marked “a missed opportunity for Ireland to continue to set the highest standard in human rights, with legislation that recognises and protects the human rights and equality of every citizen, irrespective of age or gender identity.”
The Citizens Assembly on gender equality will convene once a month until July 4.
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