As I stated at the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on "Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the 21st Century", which took place in June last year to mark five years since the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, my Department is working on the development of a national plan for women. Consultancy expertise has been engaged by my Department to assist in drawing up a draft national plan for women 2001-2005 which will be the basis for the consultation process.
The consultation process will be extensive and wide-ranging and it is hoped to involve a large number of women's representative groups and other NGO's, the social partners, other stakeholders, women generally and Government Departments and other statutory bodies.
My Department is considering the details of the consultation process at present and will build on the experience gained through other consultation processes, such as those relating to the national children's strategy and the white paper supporting voluntary activity.
It is envisaged that the consultation process will run from May to October, with a view to completion of the plan by the end of this year. I will announce details shortly.