The Government has confirmed a referendum on gender equality will be held later this year.

Proposals for constitutional amendments are to be published by the end of June, with the referendum due to take place in November.

The Government's intention to hold this referendum follows recommendations made by the Citizens' Assembly on Gender Equality two years ago.

The recommended amendments to Articles 40 and 41 of the Constitution included the woman "within the home" reference be deleted and replaced.

It was also recommended that the Constitution, which has been in place since 1937, should refer explicitly to gender equality and non-discrimination.

A Special Oireachtas Committee was established to consider the recommendations and the Government response and it concluded its work last December.

In announcing the planned referendum on gender equality and a timeframe, the Government has said it will establish an inter-departmental group this month to agree on proposals.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "For too long, women and girls have carried a disproportionate share of caring responsibilities, been discriminated against at home and in the workplace, objectified or lived in fear of domestic or gender-based violence.

"I am pleased to announce that the Government plans to hold a Referendum this November to amend our Constitution to enshrine gender equality and to remove the outmoded reference to 'women in the home', in line with the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality."

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Speaking at Government Buildings this morning, Mr Varadkar said "we are a republic unfinished" until there is full equality between men and women.

He said there may be a requirement for multiple changes to the Constitution, and the Government may choose to hold referenda on separate issues, at the same time, such the EU patent court or keeping water under public ownership.

Mr Varadkar said he expects the wording for a constitutional referendum should be ready by early summer.

Speaking later to RTÉ's Six One News, he said there are three areas the Government wants to change.

He said: "One that explicitly recognises the equality between men and women, enshrining that in our constitution.

"The second, removing the old fashioned language around women in the home, in favour of the recognition of carers and the role they play in society and family life and then thirdly recognising there are many different types of families in Ireland."

The announcement of the referendum has been welcome by the National Women's Council, which said it would bring significant change if passed.

Director Orla O'Connor said: "This is a timely and significant announcement for women, for families, and for gender equality. It's a unifying proposal which, if passed, would replace the outdated, limited role for women with a recognition of the value of care, both in the home and in the community.

"It would bring a new legal definition of the family which would match the reality for one-parent families and all diverse families.

"In the past, the Citizens' Assembly have very accurately reflected the sentiment of the Irish public. Let’s take this opportunity to bring the Irish Constitution into the 21st century for women, families and Irish society."

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