I propose to take Questions Nos. 887 to 891, inclusive, together.
A key recommendation in the report to the United Nations on the national plan for women on the implementation of the Beijing platform for action was the development of a national women's strategy as the framework for Ireland's gender equality agenda for the coming years. Under Sustaining Progress, the Government has undertaken to develop a five-year national women's strategy.
It is envisaged that the strategy will encompass policies and programmes across a number of Departments and will go beyond current Government commitments to develop new strategies for advancing women's issues and concerns. The strategy will encompass a broad range of issues affecting women and will draw on the Beijing platform for action, and the recommendations of the national plan for women 2002.
My Department engaged in an intensive consultation process in the preparation of the national plan for women 2002. One of the results of this consultation process was the publication of the report, Aspirations of Women Collected in the Course of the Consultation Process on the National Plan for Women 2003: Towards a National Women's Strategy, which will be a key input into the development of the strategy.
The scoping work for the development of the strategy is currently being finalised by my Department and I hope to present proposals to Government shortly. The scoping exercise is concerned with defining the process by which the strategy is developed and in broad terms, the framework of the strategy. Cross-cutting issues, such as indicators, will be discussed and agreed, as appropriate, during the development of the strategy. In preparation for the development of the strategy, my Department has commissioned a study on the currently available indicators in this area.