EU PROGRESS Programme 'Initiatives to support the achievement of gender balance in decision-making roles in Ireland’

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The Department of Justice and Equality has been awarded funding under the European Union’s PROGRESS programme (2007-2013) to develop a range of initiatives to support the achievement of gender balance in decision-making in Ireland. These initiatives will help to achieve some of the recommendations contained in the reportTowards Gender Parity in Decision-Making in Ireland’.

The project will run for a period of 24 months from December 2013 to November 2015.

The Department has overall responsibility for the implementation of Ibec and the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) are co-beneficiary partners for specific actions under the project

Initiatives under the project include:

  • A Talent Bank of suitably-qualified women who would be prepared to serve on State Boards. This was announced by the Government in July 2014 as part of a package of new measures to promote gender balance on State Boards. The Talent Bank will be developed with the assistance of the Public Appointments Service (PAS) through its existing resource www.stateboards.ie.

Following a Government Decision on 30 September, PAS is now responsible for advertising all vacancies on State Boards which are subject to Ministerial appointment.

  • A cross-departmental mentoring and leadership development programme for female Principal Officers who have the potential to move into the highest level of management in Government Departments (hereinafter, W-LEAD Programme (Women in the LEAD - leadership, engagement and development Programme).

The programme aims to provide and pilot a best practice cross-departmental mentoring and leadership development model for female Principal Officers in the Civil Service. It is intended that the programme will be disseminated and rolled-out across every Government Department after the pilot. The programme has the endorsement of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and a group of liaison officers from Government Departments has been created to support the project development and its implementation.

The W-LEAD programme will support career progression and professional development and will help participants to devise a personal plan or strategy for career advancement within the Civil Service.

  • A number of conferences to promote and disseminate good practice on gender balanced leadership.

A major public and private sector conference Investing in Talent - Promoting Gender Balanced Leadership was held on 25th November 2014 in Dublin Castle. This was the   first of  a  series of high profile events being held under the EU Progress funding.

Two additional conferences are planned to take place in 2015, a ‘Women on Corporate Boards’, and another one organised with the Civil Service Women Manager’s Network.

  • A gender-sensitive awareness raising campaign. The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), as a co- beneficiary partner under the EU Progress project will be responsible for the development of a gender-sensitive awareness raising project, focused mainly on the Civil Service. Under this project, the NWCI will be developing a training video to communicate the message of the benefits of greater gender balance at middle and senior management levels for effective decision making and increased productivity; a multi media training programme and a  training pack for trainers that will be developed and disseminated in two separate programmes.
  • Initiatives to promote gender balance on corporate boards. Ibec, as a co-beneficiary partner will be responsible for the development of a range of initiatives to promote gender balance on corporate boards during 2015