Ireland to Conduct Referendums on Eliminating Outdated Gendered Language from the Constitution

   Ireland is gearing up for two significant referendums next year, both addressing outdated references to women's traditional domestic roles in the 1930s Constitution. The votes are scheduled for March 8, International Women's Day.

One proposal aims to eliminate Article 41.2, recognizing women's role in the home as foundational for the State. The replacement would introduce gender-neutral language, acknowledging the outdated nature of the existing article, according to Deputy Prime Minister Micheál Martin.

The second vote seeks to amend another constitution article, extending protections beyond families with married parents. This amendment aims to acknowledge that families can be based on enduring relationships beyond marriage, including single-parent families or those led by grandparents or guardians, as highlighted by Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

The Irish Constitution, drafted in 1937 during a conservative and puritanical era of Catholic dominance, has seen significant societal changes. Recent decades witnessed the legalization of divorce, contraception, and homosexuality. Notably, Ireland has voted to relax abortion laws and legalize gay marriage in the past decade, reflecting a shift away from conservative Christianity.

Despite these progressive changes, Ireland has experienced a surge in far-right sentiments in recent years, encompassing religious fundamentalists, nationalists, and anti-immigrant voices.

The government is set to finalize the wording for the upcoming referendums on Thursday. However, a proposal to amend another article, 40.1, explicitly addressing gender equality and non-discrimination, has been rejected. Prime Minister Varadkar expressed concerns about unintentionally downgrading other identity categories by specifying one.