The Government is to establish a new Citizens' Assembly to examine and make recommendations on the issue of gender equality, the Taoiseach has said.

Leo Varadkar told journalists in Dublin that the assembly will begin in October and will have about six months to do its work.

He said we have made great strides forward when it comes to equality between men and women in recent years.

Mr Varadkar said there had been legislative changes on issues such as divorce, reproductive rights and domestic violence.

He also highlighted the fact that there are more women at work than ever before and more women who are financially independent than ever before.

Read more: A user's guide to the Citizens' Assembly

"However, I don't think anyone can argue, for a second, that Ireland is a country in which men and women are equal," the Taoiseach said.

"We fall very far short of that and the current pace of change and the current rate of progress are too slow.

"At the current rate of change it could take many generations before men and women are truly equal in Ireland and truly have equality of opportunity."

Mr Varadkar said the Citizens' Assembly is the next step in achieving the Government's aim of making Ireland the first country in the world in which men and women are truly equal.

He said: "We still have some big gaps and women are still paid less than men, still find it harder to reach the top of their professions and there's still a very unequal share of the burden of care among men and women.

"Those are the kind of issue we're going to ask the Citizens' Assembly to examine and we look forward to the work and look forward to acting on the recommendations when they make them next year."