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Minister Flanagan on International Women's Day

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., today marked International Women’s Day by calling for continued efforts in the bid to achieve gender equality across the globe.

Acknowledging the contributions Ireland has already made in the fight for equality, Minister Flanagan also highlighted that the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, “Be Bold for Change”, is a reminder that efforts must continue and that real, lasting change can only be achieved with the full and meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of social and civic engagement:

“As the father of two daughters, I am acutely conscious of the need for Ireland to use its voice to promote and protect the human rights of all women and girls around the world. While we have come a long way, millions of women and girls around the world continue to experience violations of their human rights.”

In highlighting the work that still needs to be done, the Minister also underlined the experience and expertise to hand that ensures Ireland will continue to lead in the fight for gender equality:

“On joining the UN in 1955, Ireland committed itself to upholding this principle and to advancing the human rights of all women and girls. Our forthcoming membership at the Commission on the Status of Women is one tangible way in which we are giving effect to this commitment.

“Ireland has a long and proud record on issues such as eliminating violence against women; preventing Child, Early and Forced Marriage; and addressing Female Genital Mutilation through resolutions at the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. We have also been strong supporters of international engagement on Women, Peace and Security under the Security Council Resolution 1325.

“Indeed, for a country of its modest size, Ireland continues to positively influence developments in the area of gender equality.

“In its facilitation of the Sustainable Development Goals, Ireland helped ensure that gender equality became a core priority of the 2030 agenda. Ireland is also recognised as a leading advocate of the Women Peace and Security agenda, which reflects our rich tradition in the areas of humanitarian assistance and development co-operation in fragile contexts, peacekeeping and conflict resolution, including on the island of Ireland.

“Moreover, the Department’s Stability Fund supports a number of international partners to work in conflict-affected states enabling women and girls to play the central role in the rebuilding of their communities that they ought to have.  For example, last year, funding from Ireland supported women to act as mediators within their local communities in Burundi, helping to prevent the outbreak of large-scale conflict there in 2016. Women must be supported and empowered to participate in peace processes and to have their voices heard around the peace table.  It is not just the right thing to do, it is the most effective way of achieving results.”

“Ireland will continue to work at all levels to advance these issues and to strengthen the human rights of all women and girls.”

While gender equality is a key priority for Ireland’s foreign policy, and a cornerstone of the work of Irish Aid, Ireland’s International Development Programme, Minister Flanagan also took the opportunity to acknowledge the progress made closer to home. Contributions made to gender balance initiatives across the wider Civil Service, and the implementation of the Department’s Gender Equality Action Plan, were also acknowledged by the Minister.

The Department’s Gender Equality Network will also mark International Women’s Day with a lunchtime talk on Women in the Workplace, at which Secretary General Niall Burgess and Sorcha McKenna, a partner with McKinsey Ireland and a member of the 30 % Club, will speak.



Press Office

08 March 2017