The national development plan gender equality unit is funded under the employment and human resources development programme with a budget of €5.36 million over the period 2000-06. All policies and programmes funded under the national development plan are required to be gender mainstreamed. Gender mainstreaming is a process whereby a gender equality perspective is incorporated into the development, implementation and evaluation of policies. The NDP gender equality unit of my Department has been set up to provide support and advice to policy makers and implementors on gender mainstreaming. The unit comprises a head of unit, gender equality expert, statistician and two administrative support staff.
The principal work of the unit includes providing advice, training and information on issues relating to gender mainstreaming. To date, the unit has delivered 22 training courses to Departments and implementing agencies, furnishing a total of 827 participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet their gender mainstreaming requirements under the NDP. The unit also collects and analyses data, engages in research, and advises on the gender impact assessment of policy proposals and the development of appropriate indicators to support gender mainstreaming in the NDP. The unit also provides inputs to the equal opportunities and social inclusion co-ordinating committee and to the mid-term review of the NDP. Finally, the unit supports participation by community and voluntary groups in the gender mainstreaming process.
The work of the unit is overseen by a management committee, chaired by the principal officer of the gender equality division of my Department and including representatives from the Department of Education and Science, the Department of Finance, the NDP-CSF Evaluation Unit, the European Commission, the Equality Authority and the National Women's Council.