Ireland vows gender equality a foreign policy priority in the push for the Sustainable Development Goals (updated)

Gender equality is a priority area of Ireland’s foreign policy. It takes every opportunity to highlight the right of all girls in every country to quality education, the centrality of women’s participation in decision-making at all levels, and the importance of eradicating harmful practices, especially female genital mutilation.

Ireland remains firmly dedicated to implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Another priority is the prevention of and response to gender-based violence, which undermines the health, well-being and livelihoods of millions of women. Since without gender equality, the world cannot achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals, Ireland pledges to help maintain momentum behind both.

Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Michael Higgins said: “We should not have to wait 15 years to end violence against women and girls; any paradigm of gender equality is not the gift of men, either generously or reluctantly given.” [ Speech ]

Developments since Ireland’s commitment

Ireland’s strong commitments to gender equality and the elimination of gender based violence is reflected in the country’s foreign, international development and domestic policies. Ireland is implementing its second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2015–2018) relating to overseas development aid, peacekeeping and diplomatic engagement, as well as regarding migrant women affected by conflict living in Ireland, and women affected by the Northern Ireland conflict. In addition, over 46 per cent of Ireland’s bilateral Official Development Assistance is focused on addressing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) is a core priority for Irish Aid (Ireland’s overseas development programme). The Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence works to share learning and build its capacities to prevent and respond to GBV in developing countries. In November 2015, Ireland signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

A new National Women’s Strategy will be published by the end of 2016, which will inform a new integrated framework for social inclusion to tackle inequality and poverty. [ Full update ]