Minister Simon Harris yesterday announced that the Government’s new Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021–2025 will “positively discriminate” against men. The move, he said, is necessary as there are too few female apprentices in the country.
— Fine Gael (@FineGael) April 19, 2021
Whilst the Govenrment is correct that there is a stark difference in the number of male and female apprentices in Ireland, they have not yet provided any evidence that the number of female apprentices remains low due to discrimination rather than as a result of the employment preferences of men and women.
Minister Harris told RTE’s Radio One that businesses would be given “additional funding” if they “take on a female apprentice in an area where you have 80% male apprentices.” That statement appears to be not entirely correct, as female refers to the female sex and the plan itself says it seeks to create “gender balance.” Sex, of course, is a biological reality whilst gender is a self-held belief.
Whilst this may seem to be a minor thing to point out Ireland’s gender recognition laws, under the Gender Recognition Act 2015, allow someone to change their gender at will, with effectively no oversight or review. As such it would be trivial for someone to change their gender in order to avail of additional financial rewards, a situation which would, if it came to pass, totally remove the ability of the government to accurately track the number of females actually working as apprentices.
The unemployment rate for those aged 15 to 24 years old, the cohort most likely to benefit from increased opportunities to pursue apprenticeships, is currently 59.2%. The unemployment rate for men is currently 24.6%, and 23.7% for women.
You can read the plan HERE.