Ahead of International Women's Day, Frances Fitzgerald, Maxine Brady and Ruth Riddick talk about where Ireland stands on the status of women in society.

'Nighthawks' presenter Shay Healy starts the discussion by asking,

Where are we in the league of women around the world?

Chairperson for the Council for the Status of Women, Frances Fitzgerald, acknowledges that while progress, there are still a lot of areas where improvement is needed such as the representation of women in public life, childcare facilities, and access to jobs.

Student representative Maxine Brady believes that the student movement has matured in terms of the role of women.

Women can achieve par and can achieve prominent positions within the student movement without having to worry about what their sex is. But in saying that we still have a long way to go. There's still sexual harassment and there's still discrimination against women in our colleges.

Referring to Frances, Maxine and Ruth as "action women", Shay asks Ruth Riddick of the Dublin Film Festival about the role of women in the home. Ruth believes that all women have the potential to empower themselves and sees the situation for women as much more positive now to when she was a school girl.

We now have the opportunity to take the positive decision to be a housewife.

There is agreement amongst the women that society is beginning to value the role of women in the home more. Frances Fitzgerald says that women need to learn to use their vote effectively.

At the end of the day, a woman's vote is just as powerful as a man's vote.

They are also in agreement about the need for a greater number of women in the Dáil. Frances Fitzgerald feels that a greater presence of women in the political world would broaden the agenda and comments

Politics is far too important to leave to men. We're leaving it to far too many men at the moment.

This episode of 'Nighthawks' was broadcast on 4 March 1992. The presenter is Shay Healy.