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Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State for Equality, David Stanton, today outlined today outlined new proposals to increase women’s representation in leadership positions with his colleague An Tanaiste and Minister for Justice & Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD.

“International Women’s Day is a day dedicated to acknowledging women’s achievements throughout history and across nations, celebrating the social economic, cultural and political achievements”, said Minister Stanton while delivering the keynote address at an event at the Public Appointments Service in Dublin Castle to mark International Women’s Day.

“The Tánaiste and I have strongly advocated for the participation of women in decision-making and for this reason, the advancement of women in leadership is one of the high-level objectives of the new National Women’s Strategy 2017-2020. In the strategy I plan to introduce a package of measures to increase the number of women on corporate boards, which needs to be addressed urgently if Ireland is to use all of its talent to be a successful open, innovative economy.

“The Government is also rolling out a series of actions to promote women to promote women in leadership positions in the civil service. We are looking at the factors which persuade women to go for promotion and at the obstacles that hamper them from seizing opportunities”, said Minister Stanton

“For example the Civil Service Renewal Plan launched in October 2014 commits to improving gender balance by reviewing supports and policies to ensure these are impactful and measurable. These include a target of a 50/50 gender balance in senior level appointments, two new Leadership Progammes one for Senior Public Service Executives and the other for Principal Officers and also the funding of research by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

“I should point out that progress is being made. In the most recent returns the percentage of women on State Boards is higher than ever before at 38.4% very close to the 40% target. This is the highest proportion of female board members since the target was introduced and is very welcome This will be an area on which I will be pressing for action in the National Women’s Strategy. It is time for action to promote women’s leadership in every sector.”

Minister Stanton concluded: “The National Women’s Strategy will be the framework for action to increase the percentage of women in key decision-making positions. It makes sense, in the challenging global environment, that we ensure that women, like men, can achieve their potential and contribute fully to the development of our economy and society.”