☰       Department Menu

Reflecting on the 1937 Constitution

Reflecting on the 1937 Constitution: Women, Family and the Home in Ireland

Reflecting on the 1937 Constitution: Women, Family and the Home in Ireland

A Public Symposium

School of History & Geography,
DCU, St Patrick’s Campus 
Friday 22nd February 2019.


In the wake of two major constitutional referenda for greater equality in Irish society, increasing attention has been paid to the article of our Constitution regarding the role of women in the home. The article reads as follows:

1. In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

2. The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

A recent government research note has highlighted ‘the limited practical impact of Article 41.2 and considers the symbolic value of amending or repealing it’. Additionally, the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality's recent report (December 2018) proposes two possible courses of action for the Government; a) replacement of the article with more appropriate, gender-neutral language, or b) postponement of any referendum on the matter until the Government formally consults with the public, potentially following the Citizens’ Assembly model.

Building on this contemporary debate, this symposium seeks to analyse the genesis and evolving interpretations of Article 41.2. Papers on the day will explore related issues on the subject of women, family and the home in Ireland. Register at irishwomen37.eventbrite.ie

22nd February, 2019