A new National Women’s Strategy is currently being developed. The development of this strategy is being informed by a broad consultation process, including regional meetings and an opportunity to make written submissions. The public consultation to inform the new Strategy was launched on 23 November 2016. The new Strategy will set out Government policy on promoting equality and the empowerment of women and girls for the next four years. The Strategy will aim to; address the key areas of concern for women in Ireland today, support them at work, ensure their well-being and to encourage them to make a contribution as active citizens and decision-makers.
One area to be addressed in the new Strategy is the employment of women. The employment rate in Ireland for men currently stands at just under 70%, while the corresponding rate for women is just less than 60%. It is an important gender equality policy goal to increase women’s overall participation in the labour market, which offers greater economic independence and reduces the risk of poverty in later years. Funding of €4 million over three years is being made available under the European Social Fund for initiatives targeted at women who are currently detached from the labour market, but wish to take up paid employment. €1.2 million is being made available for projects to support women’s entrepreneurship.