Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (462)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

462. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he intends to open strands 2 and 3 of the Equality for Women Measure 2010-2013 funded by the European Social Fund through the Human Capital Investment Operational Programme 2001-2013 and his Department in view of the fact that strand 1 of this programme, Access to Employment, has been reopened and that projects with a proven track record and very positive outcomes in developing female entrepreneurship are still awaiting funding to continue their work, this should be progressed as a matter of urgency; when he will reopen strand 2, Developing Female Entrepreneurship, and strand 3, Career Development for Women in Employment; if he intends to introduce a strand 4 under the EWM which would target women into public life; and when he envisages this will happen. [30462/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The difficult financial position of the State required me to achieve expenditure reductions across my Department, which impacts on all parts of the Justice and Equality sector, including in the equality area. I took the view that in so far as possible, that front line services such as policing and security, should be maintained. The 2013 budget allocation on positive actions for gender equality prompted a review of the Equality for Women Measure (EWM)

However funding of €1 million for Equality for Women measures is being spent in 2013 and work in relation to both entrepreneurial and women in employment strands is being funded as part of this.

In relation to the Entrepreneurial strand, ongoing funding has been provided for two very successful entrepreneurship projects in 2013, the ‘National Women’s Enterprise Day’ and the ‘Going for Growth’ initiative.

In relation to Access to Employment, which aims to provide women who are currently outside the labour market with the social skills and/or education, and/or training to enable them to enter or return to the labour market and links most closely to the EU and national goals to expand female labour market participation and boost economic growth, projects from 2012 Strand 1 were invited to submit proposals for further funding and in following their appraisal, a total of 23 projects will shortly begin a new phase.

In relation to Strand 3 – Career Development for Women in Employment – this had drawn a disappointing response when originally advertised with only one project being approved and it has now been funded over two periods, while my Department has submitted a separate application for EU funding to support women’s roles in decision making.