Gender mainstreaming was introduced into the policy framework in Ireland through the European Structural Funds (ESF). The European Commission (EC) requirement meant that projects supported by Structural Funds were to be implemented in accordance with the principle of promoting equal opportunities. Gender mainstreaming was introduced into the policymaking process in Ireland through the National Development Plan 2000–2006 (NDP), the country’s multi-annual investment strategy.
The Gender Equality Division under the Department of Justice (currently led by the Minister for Justice and Equality) has a broad remit including policy, coordination, analysis and monitoring, and has overall responsibility for the Equality for Women Measure 2008–2013 (a source of funding from the European Social Fund to support women’s participation in the labour market, and in the economy more broadly).
Laws and Policies
Gender mainstreaming was driven in Ireland by the National Development Plan 2000–2006 (NDP), which incorporated ESF grants. It included a mandate to mainstream gender equality as a horizontal principle. In 1999 and 2000 the Employment Equality Acts and the Equal Status Acts were enacted to prohibit discrimination on gender and eight other grounds in employment and in the provision of goods and services. The Equality Authority was established to promote equality of opportunity and combat discrimination in the areas covered by this legislation.
Methods & Tools
The period preceding the current gender-equality policy foresaw the deployment of several gender-mainstreaming methods, including gender impact assessments. However, presently, only a few are being used – and those that are in use, such as gender planning, monitoring, sex-disaggregated statistics and stakeholder consultations – are being deployed in a limited way.