Skip to main content

Minister Costello highlights Ireland's support for gender equality on International Women's Day


Speaking on International Women’s Day, Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD  has said Ireland’s support for education, healthcare and gender equality is assisting thousands of women and girls to reach their full potential.      

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, ‘equality for women is progress for all’, provides an opportunity to review the progress made in implementing the Millennium Development Goals, a year before the 2015 deadlines.  

Minister Costello said:

“Real progress has been made since the launch of the MDGs; millions of girls now have the opportunity to go to school with primary school enrolment rates approaching 90%; there are more women than ever in parliaments and the number of women dying in childbirth halved between 1990 and 2010.  

“But halving maternal mortality is not enough – today some 800 women will die giving birth. Women still suffer the brunt of poverty and don't fully participate and benefit from economic growth, seriously hampering progress towards sustainable development.

Ireland’s development policy, One World, One Future, reaffirms our strong commitment to gender equality. Studies have shown that in countries where women do not have the right to own land, there are on average 60% more malnourished children. This rises to 85% when women cannot access credit.

“Ireland wants to see gender equality positioned centrally as a standalone goal in the Post 2015 Development framework as well as being integrated across all the other goals.” 

This week Minister Costello announced funding of €4.6 million to UN Women and the United Nations Fund for Population and UN Women, two key partners in Ireland’s work in gender equality. Through these partnerships, Ireland is supporting programmes and policies targeting the elimination of discrimination and violence against women and girls, promoting their empowerment and participation, improving reproductive health and reducing maternal mortality.



Press Office

08 March 2014


Note for Editors

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas assistance. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.  The first IWD was run in 1911.
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is mandated to help countries improve reproductive health and family planning services; prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS particularly among young people and women; empower women and girls; and formulate population policies that support sustainable development and poverty eradication.
  • UN Women, the UN entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, was created in 2010 and is mandated to assist countries and the United Nations system to progress towards the goal of achieving gender equality, women’s empowerment and upholding women’s rights.