Written Answers. - Gender Equality Unit.

Ciarán Cuffe

Ceist:

318 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount of funding allocated by the gender equality unit under the national development plan; the names of organisations and the amount received; and the plans in place for future funding by the gender equality unit for equality initiatives. [19226/03]

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.

The unit funded a consortium of six county development boards in 2002 to be trained in gender proofing, and a gender proofing handbook was produced from this. The six boards are those for Roscommon, Offaly, Westmeath, Sligo, Galway and Donegal. The bulk of this funding was paid to Roscommon CDB, which organised the work and received €45,202.68, while Donegal CDB received €1,024.30 to launch the gender proofing handbook. The unit has also funded the following three research projects: women in politics and decision making. This project was undertaken by the National Women's Council of Ireland in 2002, at a total cost of €71,482.00. The research report and accompanying photographic exhibition were launched in 2002. Individualisation of social welfare system. The cost of this research, also done by the National Women's Council of Ireland, was €13,269.90. The research report was published in 2003. Women and homelessness for which funding was provided by the unit to Threshold and amounted to €19,594.80. The report was published in 2003.
The unit also funded a member of the staff of the National Women's Council who attended a gender mainstreaming conference in Swansea and delivered an address in relation to gender equality work in Ireland. This cost €521.01 for flights, accommodation and taxis. The unit also funded a member of the staff of the council and the community workers co-operative to participate at a gender mainstreaming conference in Sweden during the Swedish Presidency in 2001, at a total cost of €1,523.68. The unit is also providing funding of €60,195.64 over a two year period towards the development of a structural funds equality network.
Plans in place for future funding by the NDP gender equality unit for equality initiatives will be decided by the management committee. Decisions on funding initiatives are based on the terms of reference of the unit as outlined in the measure programme complement of the employment and human resources development operational programme in the NDP and the targets as set out therein.