Women’s health and wellbeing has been a recurring theme in the current Oireachtas, and the Civil Engagement Group has been to the fore in championing progressive legislative change and policy developments.
For every budget proposed by the current government the group has been at the forefront of calls for the equality- and gender-proofing of the budgetary measures, and continues to call for more transparency and action on this commitment made by government.
The group campaigned nationally and locally with Together for Yes for the successful repeal of the 8th amendment to the constitution, paving the way for the roll out of safe and legal abortion care in Ireland. The group was represented at every stage of the debate in the Oireachtas, with Senator Lynn Ruane serving on the Special Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.
The Group coordinated, on behalf of several NGOs, cross-party consensus in the Seanad leading to the introduction of the offense of ‘Coercive Control’ into the Domestic Violence Act 2018.
As a majority female grouping, the Group’s members have been to the fore in creating the first Oireachtas Women’s Caucus. Senator Colette Kelleher has served as the Caucus’ vice-chairperson since its foundation. The Group is also active in the All Party Oireachtas group on Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Senators Colette Kelleher and Alice Mary Higgins attending the Nairobi Summit of the International Conference on Population and Development in Autumn 2019.
The group continues to advocate for equality between women and men and for the closing of the pay and pension gap, quality affordable childcare, resources to tackle violence against women and more issues on a daily basis within the Oireachtas.