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Minister highlights Ireland’s support for women in developing countries ahead of Women’s Day

Irish Aid, Press Releases, Ireland, 2013

Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD, today highlighted Ireland’s support for women in developing countries as a core part of our overseas development programme.

Speaking ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow, Minister Costello said:

“Global poverty has a female face. Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours and produce half its food.  Yet they earn only one-tenth of global income and own less than 1% of property. Currently, seven in ten people living in extreme poverty are women or girls.

“But we know that women can drive change and progress. Evidence shows that when women’s wealth increases, they spend more on food and children’s education, leading to an improvement in the family’s overall well-being. Indeed, Ireland’s own experience of working to secure women’s rights shows us that equal access to education and maternal and reproductive health services are the foundations of equality.

“Irish Aid works with governments, NGOs and international organisations such as UN Women to improve access to good quality health and education services.   For example, through Irish Aid, the Government supports the Global Fund for Education, a key objective of which is to keep more girls in school. Strengthening women’s voices in decision-making at community, local and national level is an important part of our work,” he said.

Minister Costello, who will tomorrow accept a petition from Oxfam as part of a campaign to end poverty said: “Irish Aid and Oxfam agree that women farmers have a critical role to play in the fight to end poverty and hunger.  Irish Aid supports organisations like Oxfam, and the International Land Coalition, to strengthen women farmers’ access to land, credit, technology and training.”

This week, Ireland will participate in the 57th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York. Governments and NGOs from around the world are discussing how to prevent violence against women, including in post-conflict countries such as Sierra Leone.