Jamie's Blog

Ruby developer. CTO. Swimmer. Always trying to write more

Women and the Economy

I haven’t a clue how this sexist, offensive rant was ever published in a national newspaper but I do think that the re-energisation of women in the Irish workforce has been a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, the influx of women into the Irish workforce was the main reason for our rapid economic growth. It was women – not EU-funding, not low corporation tax, not academia, but women – that grew this country’s GDP. That is pretty amazing. I wish I could find the Economist article from a few years back which examined these issues. It makes sense when you think about it: increase the workforce, increase the GDP. This was universally a good thing for Ireland.

On the other hand, many (most?) households were getting two incomes and we had almost 0% unemployment. This meant that there was a large amount of disposable income which, you could argue, is the primary reason behind the property boom and Dublin becoming one of the most expensive cities in the world. After all, when you had two professional salaries coming into the household, why wouldn’t you buy a €500,000 house? Or €750,000?

We got rich and our prices rose to match… but now we’re poor it doesn’t work so well. The problem is that now there are an increasing number of household with only one income, and it’s hard to live off one income when the economy is still structured towards two-income households.