Mum’s Still The Word: Irish Legislature Shoots Down ‘Gender Neutral’ Referendum

Irish mothers knew best — with a thundering 74% vote in favor of protecting the original wording of the constitution.

jamegaw. Getty Images. Shoppers on Grafton Street. Dublin, Ireland.
Shoppers on Grafton Street. Dublin, Ireland

The Irish government has been served the mother of all wake-up calls.

Having spent 24 million euros in taxpayer money on a virtue-signaling effort to convince the nation to remove the word “mother” from its Constitution, the Irish government was dealt a swift clip around the ear this past weekend with a resounding defeat of its latest “progressive” referendum.

The proposed changes would have removed provisions that recognize and honor women’s service to society in raising the next generation of responsible citizens:

… the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

A “yes” result would have replaced this language with a gender neutral alternative, obliging the State more vaguely to support care within the home and the community. It might seem like a small tweak. And certainly, there are some men who play a significant role as stay-at-home dads. But the male and female experiences in the workplace, home, and society-at-large are different. Women and men are not interchangeable. The pressures placed on mothers are unique. It’s she, having birthed the child in an experience that no man can replicate, who then navigates the delicate balance of work-versus-family.

Irish mothers, it would seem, knew best — with a thundering 74% vote in favor of protecting the original wording of the constitution.

The data has always supported such an outcome — which the government might have noticed, had they not blindly assumed that they could speak for the women of Ireland. Two-thirds of Irish mums would prefer to stay at home to parent full-time, than return to work — if only they could afford it.

It’s a sentiment echoed across the West, with 56% of American mums agreeing that they’d prefer to stay home and prioritize child-raising over career advancement. Over a third of their British counterparts concur. Today’s model of “boss babe” feminism typically stigmatizes this dream, requiring women regain social status by rejoining the rat race to the boardroom as soon as possible after giving birth.

But what have we gained from such a model? A plummeting birth rate, for one. The pressure on women to spend their twenties and thirties advancing through zoom calls and office cubicles has surely played a hand in the birthrate recently falling to the lowest level on record in six decades. A generation of disillusioned women have been schooled that their value in society depends on their GDP contribution, rather than their input into raising the next generation.

Western governments have taken “maternity policy” to largely mean cheaper outsourcing of childcare, to allow women to return to work as soon as possible — rather than finding creative solutions to support women’s choices to prioritize parenting, and invest in raising the next generation. The outcome for society is yet to be fully unpacked. U.S. studies show that lots of hours spent in outsourced daycare can have a link to increased aggression and disobedience in children, poorer relationships with teachers, and a higher susceptibility to risk-taking at the age of 15 — including through sex, drugs and alcohol use.

It’s not only an outdated concept of Carrie Bradshaw feminism that is downgrading the value and respect attributed to mums. The growing practice of surrogacy demands the commercialization of motherhood — downgrading the role of a pregnant mother as a mere “incubator” for a product to be passed on to a customer. An increasing trend amongst gay men growing a family through surrogacy is to announce the news on social media with their shirts off, in a hospital bed, posing as if post-birth. UK Law Commission proposals would seek to enable two dads in such a situation to be named on the birth certificate on the day, thus erasing both the legal and social role of a mother in the life of the child she carried and delivered.

There’s no question about it — dads are amazing, and are necessary in a child’s life. But a thousand excellent dads cannot replace one mum — and her unique, feminine, nurturing role. The life of a mother is an often thankless task. Ireland are miles ahead of the rest of the West in acknowledging her irreplaceable role within their constitution. It’s time now to put their words into practice — by honoring mums with better, more flexible work options, and the ability to make an empowered choice to stay absent from the workforce for the length of time she deems necessary to raise her children.

The Irish government have talked a strong game about supporting “choice” in recent years. If that’s the case, it’s long past time to support a woman’s choice to be a committed mum.

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Lois McLatchie Miller is Senior Legal Communications Officer for Alliance Defending Freedom UK. Follow her: @LoisMcLatch

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Mum’s Still The Word: Irish Legislature Shoots Down ‘Gender Neutral’ Referendum