News Items from 2014
The Istanbul Convention – A tool to end female genital mutilation
25 November 2014
On the occasion of International Day on Ending Violence against Women, the Council of Europe has released, together with Amnesty International, a guide to put female genital mutilation (FGM) on the political agenda – and to promote the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention).
The guide can help governments understand how to use the Council of Europe’s convention as a tool to end FGM and to help NGOs and civil society give examples of actions to take to fight the practice.
Because changing attitudes is essential, the guide includes “best practices” such as women who have been affected within their community speaking out against FGM’s negative effects on their health.
The 62-page guide encourages governments to sign and ratify the Council of Europe convention.
Link to the guide: “The Istanbul Convention – A tool to end female genital mutilation”
Investing in Talent - Promoting Gender Balanced Leadership
The Department of Justice and Equality and Ibec successfully held a conference in Dublin Castle on 25 November 2014 aimed at promoting and supporting gender balanced leadership. The conference was supported by the European Union under its PROGRESS programme (2007-2013) and was moderated by the well-known journalist and broadcaster, Margaret E. Ward.
Over 200 participants from both the public and private sectors attended the conference to hear from a variety of national and international high profile speakers who are each committed to achieving gender balance in leadership roles.
The conference was hosted by the Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, T.D. In his address to the conference Minister Ó Ríordáin emphasised the need to communicate that this is not an issue for 50% of the population but for 100%.
The opening address to the conference was made by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., who told the conference that by continuing to draw our leaders mainly from the male pool we are ignoring the benefits of drawing from both and that we are under-utilising the talents of our highly educated women.
Request for Tender: Development of a Cross-Departmental Mentoring and Leadership Development programme for female Principal Officers in the Civil Service
Tuesday 18 November 2014
The Department of Justice and Equality has published a Request for Tender for the provision for Development of a cross-departmental mentoring and leadership development programme for female Principal Officers in the Civil Service.
The programme which envisages to be a best practice model for the Civil Service, aims to support career progression and professional development for women at Principal Officer level as an effective way of identifying and motivating high potential women to apply for more senior positions within the Civil Service and in supporting them to achieve this progression. More details can be found in www.etenders.gov.ie.
This programme is receiving funding from the EU Progress Programme 2007-2013.
Minister Ó Ríordáin addresses High Level EU Presidency Conference on Gender Equality in Europe: Unfinished business?
Thursday 23 October 2014
The Minister of State with special responsibility for New Communities, Culture and Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D., addressed a high-level conference on the Beijing Platform for Action organised within the framework of its EU Presidency by Italy in collaboration with the European Commission.
Speaking in Rome on the opening day of the two day conference, the Minister referred to the importance of gender equality to promoting the inclusion of all women and men in life, work and society. He said “gender equality is not a conversation for 50% of the population. Gender equality is a conversation for 100% of the population, for men and women, about the society in which they live.”
Noting that gender equality was critical to ensuring poverty reduction and sustainable development, the Minister said “empowering women fuels our economies, spurring productivity and growth. Inclusive growth reduces both poverty and inequality. In addition to sharing the benefits of growth by expanding opportunities for people to participate in economic activity, people must also have a say on the policies and direction to be pursued.” He noted that this was the approach taken by the Member States of the EU, in putting inclusive growth at the very heart of the Europe 2020 Strategy and he urged further integration of the economic and social aspects of the Strategy.
Highlighting the recent introduction in Ireland of social impact assessment to model the likely effects of policy proposals on income and social inequality, the Minister said “I am pleased that consideration of gender impacts has become an increasingly important factor in monitoring the effectiveness of policy”.
The conference brought together 200 high ranking politicians, experts, academics and representatives of civil society organisations to review the present situation in Europe and identify achievements, gaps and future challenges for gender equality. In the closing session on Friday, the EU Ministers with responsibility for gender equality discussed possibilities for future action to promote gender equality in the EU.
The conference was organised by the Italian Government within the framework of its EU Presidency, and with the collaboration of the European Commission. The purpose of the conference was to provide a platform of exchange to a broad range of international, EU and national institutions and stakeholders on the main issues relating to the Beijing Platform for Action. Italy holds the EU Presidency until 31 December 2014.
Beijing Platform for Action
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is an agenda for women’s empowerment which was adopted at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in China in 1995. It addresses twelve critical areas of concern for women globally, to establish the principle of shared power and responsibility between women and men at home, in the workplace and in the wider national and international communities:
- Women and poverty
- Education and training of women
- Women and health
- Violence against women
- Women and armed conflict
- Women and the economy
- Women in power and decision-making
- Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women
- Human rights of women
- Women and the media
- Women and the environment
- The girl child.
The twentieth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action will be marked by the international community at the 59th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York in March 2015.
Ireland’s periodic report for Beijing+20, “Towards True Gender Equality in Ireland” was submitted in April 2014 to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and is available on the website of UN Women at www.unwomen.org.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND EQUALITY
STATEMENT OF STRATEGY 2015-2017
Call for Submissions
26 September 2014
As required under the Public Service Management Act, 1997, the Department of Justice and Equality is preparing a Statement of Strategy to cover the period 2015 – 2017. The Statement of Strategy will set out the High Level Goals, Objectives and Strategies required to maintain community and national security, promote justice and equity, and safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms consistent with the common good.
The Department is currently embarking on a comprehensive Programme for Change following the recent external review of the Department (the Toland report). More detailed information on the Department’s business activities can be accessed on the Department’s website where the current Statement of Strategy is also available for downloading. (www.justice.ie)
Submissions are invited from interested parties (e.g. customers, stakeholders, user groups, professional, trade and other organisations, private firms, service users, and individuals) to assist the Department in defining its strategic vision for the next three years.
Please note that your submission is public information. Submissions may be the subject of request for information under the Freedom of Information Acts.
Written submissions, preferably in electronic format, should be sent, before 10 October 2014, to: email@example.com
Strategy Statement Team
Reform and Development Unit
Department of Justice and Equality
51 St Stephen’s Green
European Commission: Open Public Consultation on the potential priorities for the Horizon 2020 'Science with and for Society' Work Programme 2016-2017
All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation. Contributions are particularly sought from research institutions, civil society organisations, business, policy makers, higher education institutions, science museums, science shops, scientific centres of excellence, local public authorities, cities of scientific culture, innovators and entrepreneurs.
Objective of the consultation
The objective of the Part V of Horizon 2020 'Science with and for Society' is: "to build effective cooperation between science and society, to recruit new talent for science, and to pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility". To that end, it indicates that the focus will be on the following 8 specific activities:
One of the main objectives is to: promote gender equality, in particular by supporting structural changes in research institutions and in the content and design of research activities.
How to submit your contribution: The present consultation will be open for a period of 12 weeks. All the contributions must be submitted through an on-line questionnaire by 12 October 2014 at the latest.
For further information and to submit your contribution please see:
Government approves new measures to promote gender balance on State Boards
24 July 2014
Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, New Communities and Culture Mr. Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D., has received the approval of the Government to take new measures to promote gender equality on State Boards.
A target of achieving a minimum of 40 per cent representation of both women and men on all State Boards was set originally in 1993. At 36.2 per cent overall, the 2013 data for female representation on State Boards show a very positive step forward over previous years which had been averaged at 34 per cent. However, a number of Departments fall below this average and there remains significant under-representation of both sexes on certain Boards.
The Government has therefore approved new measures to promote gender balance on State Boards, reaffirming its commitment to achieve the target of 40 per cent representation of each gender on all State Boards within the lifetime of the current Programme for Government.
Minister of State Ó Ríordáin welcomed progress reflected in the 2013 figures and the arrangements now being put in place commenting that
“Meeting the 40% target by 2016 is a specific commitment of this Government and we are now requiring each Government Department to plan how it intends to achieve this. These new measures will be accompanied by closer monitoring, with each Government Department to report on a six-monthly basis on their progress”.
Addressing the under-representation of women on State Boards, Minister Ó Ríordáin highlighted a new initiative to be developed in the Department of Justice and Equality to assist in the sourcing of suitably qualified female candidates for appointment to State Boards. Minister Ó Ríordáin said
“I am very pleased to announce that the Department will undertake a pilot project to develop a talent bank of women who would be prepared to serve on State Boards, as a resource to be made available to Ministers and other nominating bodies in meeting this target”.
The development of such a talent bank had been included as a recommendation in two reports associated with the implementation of the National Women’s Strategy 2007-2016. The Mid-Term Review of the National Women’s Strategy and Towards Gender Parity in Decision-Making in Ireland were prepared by the Monitoring Committee of the National Women’s Strategy chaired by the Minister of State formerly with responsibility for Equality, Ms. Kathleen Lynch, T.D.
The Minister believes that the implementation of these new measures will have a positive impact on gender-balance on State Boards and looks forward to working in close co-operation with his Ministerial colleagues to achieve this Programme for Government commitment.
Agencies unite to break silence on sexual violence
13 May 2014
National helpline agencies have joined forces to break the silence on sexual violence in relationships. The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and Women’s Aid ‘Not happily ever after’ campaign, launched recently, encourages women to overcome the shame and fear associated with the crime.
The campaign highlights the crime of sexual violence within relationships, was reported by 91,000 women (6% of all women) in Ireland in a recent survey.
Women’s Aid director Margaret Martin said EU-wide research showed under-reporting of sexual violence in relationships was significant, with Irish respondents reporting low levels of help-seeking. "The extent to which women recognise that rape by an intimate partner is a crime is one factor in reporting," she said. "So we’ve launched this campaign to help women overcome the shame and fear associated with this crime, and to highlight the support that is available."
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre chief executive Ellen O’Malley Dunlop said the fairytale notion of ‘happily ever after’ was used to focus attention on sexual violence in relationships and to question the misconception that sexual violence was mainly perpetrated by strangers. "In reality, women are at risk of sexual violence from their partners, exes, or someone they know," she said. "Almost one quarter of perpetrators of sexual violence against adult women in Ireland are intimate partners or exes. Yet there has only been one marital rape conviction in nearly a quarter century since the law has been on the statute books."
Ms O’Malley Dunlop said that repeat victimisation in relationships where there was sexual violence was common. "Over half of women raped by their partner experienced more than one incident of sexual violence and one third of victims experienced six or more incidents of rape by their current partner," she said. "Despite these consequences, for a quarter of victims, feeling ashamed or embarrassed about what had happened stopped them from reporting the crime or seeking help.
"This campaign aims to challenge the culture of victim-blaming that leaves women silenced and ashamed, while violent perpetrators remain outside the criminal justice system."
The campaign will run until June 2 and includes national outdoor, radio, and digital advertising, and is funded by Cosc, the national office for the prevention of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
* Dublin Rape Crisis Centre — 1800 778888. Women’s Aid – 1800 341900.
* www.nothappilyever after.ie
New European Commission Reports
Gender equality in the workforce: Reconciling work, private and family life in Europe
14 April 2014
A newly published statistical report summarises the findings of a research project on gender equality in the workforce. A detailed analysis of the following topics are presented in 6 annexes:
• the Barcelona childcare targets (Annex I);
• labour force participation rates of men, women and parents (Annex II);
• balancing work and family for single parents (Annex III);
• gender inequalities in the transition from school to work (Annex IV);
• share of earnings and domestic work within couples (Annex V);
• and access to family-friendly working schedules (Annex VI).
The reports analyses the extent to which men and women face the work life balance challenges differently and examined their labour force participation, working hours, and contributions to household income and to domestic work. Throughout the reports improvements in gender equality are observed over recent decades, but women continue to lag behind on labour force participation and earnings, face slower transition to their first job, while contributing more to domestic tasks even if they are breadwinners. These challenges are particularly pronounced in the presence of children. Mothers have lower employment rates, shorter hours and interrupted their careers more due to childcare, compared to women without children and men (with or without children).
Report on Progress on equality between women and men in 2013
In the past year the European Commission made further progress on improving equality between women and men, including closing the gender gaps in employment, pay and pensions, combating violence and promoting equality in decision-making. Despite the progress that was achieved in most areas, challenges remain, according to the European Commission's latest annual report on gender equality.
More: European Commission
Questions & Answers: Report on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Progress Report on Gender Equality
What are fundamental rights? The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights sets out a series of individual rights and freedoms. It entrenches the rights developed in the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU, found in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Violence against Women: every day and everywhere
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) Vienna 5 March 2014
A new report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) presents results from the world’s biggest-ever survey on violence against women, revealing the extent of abuse suffered by women at home, work, in public and online. As well as demonstrating the wide prevalence of violence against adult women, the report also details incidents of physical and sexual violence experienced by women in childhood. The survey shows that policy makers need to recognise the extent of violence against women, and ensure that responses meet the needs and rights of all victims of violence against women in practice and not just on paper.
"These survey figures simply cannot and should not be ignored. FRA’s survey shows that physical, sexual and psychological violence against women is an extensive human rights abuse in all EU Member States," said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. "The enormity of the problem is proof that violence against women does not just impact a few women only – it impacts on society every day. Therefore, policy makers, civil society and frontline workers need to review measures to tackle all forms of violence against women no matter where it takes place. Measures tackling violence against women need to be taken to a new level now."
The survey asked women about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including domestic violence. Questions were also asked about incidents of stalking, sexual harassment, and the role played by new technologies in women’s experiences of abuse. In addition, the survey asked about respondents’ experiences of violence in childhood.
Drawing on the survey responses, some of the key findings show that:
- 33% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. That corresponds to 62 million women.
- 22% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner.
- 5% of all women have been raped. Almost one in 10 women who have experienced sexual violence by a non-partner, indicate that more than one perpetrator was involved in the most serious incident.
- 43% have experienced some form of psychological violence by either a current or a previous partner, such as public humiliation; forbidding a woman to leave the house or locking her up; forcing her to watch pornography; and threats of violence.
- 33% have childhood experiences of physical or sexual violence at the hands of an adult. 12% had childhood experiences of sexual violence, of which half were from men they did not know. These forms of abuse typically involve an adult exposing their genitals or touching the child’s genitals or breasts.
- 18% of women have experienced stalking since the age of 15 and 5% in the 12 months prior to the interview. This corresponds to 9 million women. 21% of women who have experienced stalking said that it lasted for over 2 years.
- 11% of women have experienced inappropriate advances on social websites or have been subjected to sexually explicit emails or text (SMS) messages. 20% of young women (18-29) have been victims of such cyberharassment.
- 55% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. 32% of all victims of sexual harassment said the perpetrator was a boss, colleague or customer.
- 67% did not report the most serious incident of partner violence to the police or any other organisation.
The survey on which the report is based makes clear that a wide variety of groups need to take action to combat violence against women, including employers, health professionals and internet service providers. FRA makes a number of proposals to improve the situation and to support EU and national policy makers to introduce and implement comprehensive measures to prevent and respond to violence against women:
- EU Member States should ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention).
- EU Member States must regard intimate partner violence as a public and not a private issue. The law in all EU Member States should therefore treat rape within marriage the same as other incidents of rape, and should respond to domestic violence as a matter of serious public concern.
- EU Member States need to review the existing scope of legislative and policy responses to sexual harassment, recognising that it can occur in various settings and can use different mediums, such as the internet or mobile phones.
- Police, healthcare professionals, employers and specialist victim support services need to be trained, properly resourced and given the necessary powers to reach out to victims.
- The police and other relevant services should be trained to recognise and understand the impact of psychological abuse on victims to ensure all forms of violence against women (and girls) in varied settings are recognised, recorded and acted on.
- The police should be encouraged to routinely recognise and investigate cases where cyberstalking and cyberharassment plays a role.
- Internet and social media platforms should proactively assist victims of cyberharassment to report abuse and be encouraged to limit unwanted behaviour.
- Specialist support services are required to address the needs of victims who suffer from negative feelings in the aftermath of victimisation, which can include self-blame and a sense of shame.
- Campaigns on and responses to violence against women must be directed at men as well as women. Men need to be positively engaged in initiatives that confront how some men use violence against women.
- There is a clear need to improve and harmonise data collection on violence against women, both in and between EU Member States.
Full report: Violence against women: an EU-wide survey
A Parliament of all Talents: Building a Women-friendly Oireachtas
NWCI Publication Launch Tuesday, 4 March 2014
The National Women’s Council of Ireland were joined by Tánaiste, and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore TD, Jackie Ashley, Guardian Columnist, former TD Mary O’Rourke, and other politicians both past and present, to discuss changes that could be made to the Oireachtas to encourage more women to view politics as a viable career option.
Combating violence against women: a priority for the European Commission
3 March 2014
Ahead of the International Women's Day, the European Commission publishes a factsheet summarizing key concrete actions aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls in the European Union.
Advancing gender equality in decision-making in media organisations: Report
European Institute of Gender Equality Vilnius - 22 January 2014
Review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the EU Member States: Women and the Media.
The current report is the first one to deliver comparable data on the number of women in decision-making positions across major media organisations in the 27 EU Member States and Croatia. Further to this, the report identifies the extent to which these same organisations have developed gender equality policies, monitoring mechanisms and specific initiatives to support women’s career development. The report proposes the first indicators in the area of Women and the Media of the Beijing Platform for Action. We hope that these indicators will be used for regular monitoring of the media sector in the EU to strengthen gender equality.
The findings show that while women have considerably outnumbered men in university-level and practice-based journalism programmes and that the employment of women in media is increasing, the organisational culture of media remains largely masculine and women are still significantly under-represented at the decision-making level.