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SDG 5.4.1 Proportion of time spent on unpaid domestic and care work, by sex, age and location, is indicated by data available from the CSO, Census of Population 2016 and the Labour Force Survey (LFS).  

Detailed data on carers by various categories such as age, gender, and location is on the Census Statbank and the Census of Population 2016 publication – Profile 9 Health, Disability and Carers.  The receipt of Carers Allowance or Carers Benefit were not considered as payment for the purpose of the Census 2016 Question 21.

Data for domestic work is indicated by the Labour Force Quarterly series, which indicates principal economic status (PES) as 'Engaged on home duties' by year, and Census 2016 data on PES 'Looking after home/family' provides data on age and location. 

According to the 2016 Census there were 195,263 people (4.1% of the population) providing unpaid assistance to others, an increase of 8,151 (4.4%) on the 2011 Census. 

Of this figure 118,151 (60.5%) were female and 77,122 (39.5%) were male. 

1,776 Carers (951 females and 825 males) were aged 85 years and over, representing a 34.7% increase on the previous Census. 

2,165 Carers (1,084 females and 1,081 males) were aged between 10-14 years, a 9.4% decrease in this age category since the previous Census.  See Table 2.1.

Table 2.1 - SDG 5.4.1 Carers by Statistical Indicator, Sex and Age Group

There were 195,263 people providing time on unpaid care work in 2016, of whom 118,151 were female. 

Women provided almost two thirds (65.9%) of all care hours.

Just over 27,000 females provided 44 or more hours of unpaid care work per week, compared with just over 14,000 males.  See Table 2.2 and Figure 2.1.

2.2 - SDG 5.4.1 Number of Carers by Number of Hours of Unpaid Help per Week, by Region and Sex

Number of Hours of Unpaid Help per WeekMaleFemale
1-14 Hours3485648898
15-28 Hours1176619363
29-42 Hours59268942
43-84 Hours 59699356
85-167 Hours 30765858
168 Hours or more499411932
Not Stated - Hours Unpaid1052513802

Table 2.3 shows that 268,200 females aged 15 years and over were engaged in unpaid domestic work in the second quarter of 2020.  This compares to just 22,700 males in the same period.

2.3 - SDG 5.4.1 Persons Aged 15 Years and Over who are Engaged on Home Duties by Sex

Table 2.4 shows that in 2016 there were 284,809 females in the state aged 15 years and over looking after the home/family compared to just 20,747 males.

2.4 - SDG 5.4.1 Population Aged 15 Years and Over who are Looking After Home/Family by Age Group and NUTS3 Region

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SDG 5.5.1 Proportion of seats held by women in (a) national parliaments and (b) local governments - the data for national elections were published by the Houses of the Oireachtas; and the data for local elections were published by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

Women are significantly out-numbered by men in both local and national politics in Ireland.  However, the introduction of gender quota legislation (i.e. quotas for women candidates) before the 2016 General Elections did produce an increase of 6.5 percentage points in female representation in those elections, from 15.7% to 22.2%. 

The gender quota legislation does not apply to local elections, and the 2019 Local Elections saw a smaller increase of 3.8 percentage points in the number of seats taken by women, from 20.1% to 23.9%. 

According to the Houses of the Oireachtas 2020 there were 531 candidates in the 2020 General Election, of whom 162 were female.  

The proportion of female candidates varied widely across the constituencies in 2020.  Half or more of the candidates were female in Kildare South, Dublin Central, Dublin South Central and Meath East.  At the other end of the scale, less than 8% were female in Cork East and Donegal. 

The highest percentage of women elected was 67% in Dublin Rathdown while there were several constituencies with no women elected.  See Table 2.5 and Map 2.1.

The Government of Ireland data hub for Sustainable Development Goals hosts Story Maps which provide information on various themes for SDGs.  Here the Female Representation in Politics in Ireland Story Map illustrates changes in female representation in recent Local Government and General Elections in Ireland between 2004 and 2019.  This Story Map has been developed to showcase how the geospatial perspective can enrich the analysis of gender indicators.  It is also part of the work involved in reporting Ireland’s status in relation to achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.

2.5 - SDG 5.5.1(a) Number and Percentage of Seats and Candidates for each Constituency by Gender, 2020

Note: Data for Meath-East was revised on the 24th November 2020.  It incorrectly showed 6% on the map, the correct figure is now 33%.
23.8% Women
226 (23.8%) Seats in local government were held by women in 2019

Dublin City Council had the highest number of women elected to local Government in 2019 with women securing 26 of the 63 seats available there (41.3% of elected members).

Longford had the lowest number of women elected in 2019 with one woman securing a county council seat there out of a possible 18 seats (5.6% of elected members).  See Table 2.6 and Map 2.2.

Table 2.6 - SDG 5.5.1(b) Number and Percentage of Women Candidates and Seats Held by Local Authority

There was only one woman (1%) elected to the first Dail in December 1918 compared to 104 men.  There were 36 women (22.5%) elected to the 33rd Dail in 2020 compared to 124 men.  See Table 2.7 and Figure 2.2.

2.7 - SDG 5.5.1(b) Percentage of Women and Men Elected to Dáil Éireann

X-axis labelWomenMen
1st Dail December 19181104
22nd Dail June 198111155
27th Dail November 199220146
32nd Dail February 201635123
33rd Dail February 202036124
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SDG 5.5.2 Proportion of women in managerial positions was reported by the CSO, Labour Force Survey.

Between 2014 and 2020, the proportion of females in all occupations groups fell slightly from 45.9% to 45.7%. 

Over this same time period, the proportion of managers, directors and senior officials who were female rose from 32.5% to 34.4%. 

Males represented 65.6% of managerial positions, compared to 34.4% female.  See Table 2.8 and Figure 2.3.

2.8 - SDG 5.5.2 Persons Aged 15 Years and Over in Employment by Sex and Quarter

Managerial, Director and Senior Offical Positions by Gender, 20202020

In 2017 34.8% of managers, directors and senior officials in the state were female, an increase from 32.4% in 2012. 

Of the reported data in 2017, Dublin had the highest proportion of females in this occupation category at 37.9%.  See Table 2.9 and Map 2.3. 

Please note that 2012 data is used for the border region and regions are classified by NUTS3 in Map 2.3.

2.9 - SDG 5.5.2 Proportion of Managers, Directors and Senior Officials who are Female by NUTS3 Region

The proportion of the labour force who were female rose slightly from 44.9% to 45.9% between 2011 and 2016. 

Over this time period, the proportion of corporate managers and directors who were female rose from 33.7% to 35.4% while the percentage of other managers who were female increased only slightly from 41.2% to 41.7%.

The 25-34 years age group had the highest proportion of females working as corporate managers and directors at 45.7%.  This age group also had the highest proportion of females who worked as other managers at 48.4%.  See Table 2.10.

2.10 - SDG 5.5.2 Population Aged 15 Years and Over in the Labour Force 2016 by Intermediate Occupational Group, Sex and Age Group

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SDG 5.6.1 Proportion of women aged 15-49 years who make their own informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and reproductive health care.  These data are classified as Tier 2 in the Tier Classification for Global SDG Indicators (See Background Notes) as they are not regularly produced by countries.

National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020


The National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020: creating a better society for all was published by the Department of Justice and Equality in April 2017 in line with a commitment in the 2016 Programme for a Partnership Government. 

The Strategy has as its vision to work towards: 
“an Ireland where all women enjoy equality with men and can achieve their full potential, while enjoying a safe and fulfilling life”.

The Strategy states: “The overall goal of the Strategy for the 2017-2020 period is to change attitudes and practices preventing women’s and girls’ full participation in education, employment and public life, at all levels, and to improve services for women and girls, with priority given to the needs of those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, the poorest outcomes”. 

This goal is advanced through action contributing to six high-level objectives, as follows:

  • Advance socio-economic equality for women and girls
  • Advance the physical and mental health and wellbeing of women and girls
  • Ensure the visibility in society of women and girls, and their equal and active citizenship
  • Advance women in leadership at all levels
  • Combat violence against women
  • Embed gender equality in decision-making

The 2020 Programme for Government – Our Shared Future includes a commitment to develop and implement a new National Strategy for Women and Girls.

National Sexual Health Strategy 2015-2020


The National Sexual Health Strategy 2015-2020 is Ireland’s first national framework for sexual health and wellbeing published by the Department of Health.  It has been developed in response to a recommendation by the National AIDS Strategy Committee (NASC) on the need to establish clear leadership within the health sector around the area of sexual health.  In the past, regional sexual health strategies have been implemented in specific regions and national strategies have been implemented to address specific sexual health issues.  However, this is the first time a nationally coordinated, strategic framework has been developed to address sexual health and wellbeing.

Healthy Ireland Framework

This Strategy is being published in the context of major reforms of the health service in our approach to the health and wellbeing of the population. Healthy Ireland - A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013–2025 recognises that many factors outside the healthcare sector influence health.  The ability to reach and maintain good health is shaped not only by individual lifestyle factors and genetics, but also by the environment in which we live.  The Healthy Ireland Framework aims to address these factors and to support the aims of the National Sexual Health Strategy in a wider context.

What is Sexual Health?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined sexual health as:
‘a state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence'.


The strategic vision of this strategy is that everyone in Ireland experiences positive sexual health and wellbeing.  To achieve this vision, this strategy aims to improve sexual health and wellbeing and reduce negative sexual health outcomes by ensuring that everyone living in Ireland has access to high quality sexual health information, education and services throughout their lives.  This vision will be addressed through three goals.


Goal 1 – Sexual health promotion, education and prevention: Everyone living in Ireland will receive comprehensive and age-appropriate sexual health education and/or information and will have access to appropriate prevention and promotion services.

Goal 2 – Sexual health services: Equitable, accessible and high quality sexual health services that are targeted and tailored to need will be available to everyone.

Goal 3 – Sexual health intelligence: Robust and high quality sexual health information will be generated to underpin policy, practice, service planning and strategic monitoring.

The Strategy recognises the diversity of sexual identities in Ireland and supports all expressions of sexual identity through positive sexual health and wellbeing outcomes.

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SDG 5.6.2 Number of countries with laws and regulations that guarantee full and equal access to women and men aged 15 years and older to sexual and reproductive health care, information and education, is covered under SDG 5.6.1 above.

Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act, 2018

Following a referendum held on 25 May 2018, the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 was passed by the Oireachtas, signed into law in late 2018 and commenced on 1 January 2019.  Expanded services for termination of pregnancy in Ireland were initiated on 1 January 2019 and are provided through participating doctors and hospitals throughout the country.

The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 permits termination to be carried out in cases where there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant woman; where there is a condition present which is likely to lead to the death of the foetus either before or within 28 days of birth; and without restriction up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.  The Act provides universal access to termination of pregnancy services for people who are ordinarily resident in the State (i.e. services are provided free of charge).

A freephone telephone helpline and webchat service ‘My Options’, also became operational on 1 January 2019.  It includes an Information and Counselling Service staffed by counsellors (available from 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 2pm on Saturday), and a telephone nursing service staffed by nurses and midwives (available 24 hours per day, seven days per week).  ‘My Options’ can provide an interpreter for 240 different languages, including Irish Sign Language.”

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