International Women’s Day 2019

International Women’s Day 2019

Posted on March 08, 2019

Since 2010 The Community Foundation for Ireland has granted more than €1.5 million towards supporting organisations focused on improving the lives of women and girls, through our dedicated Women’s Fund.

The Women’s Fund prioritises working with smaller local and regional groups across the country to ensure a wide geographical spread of funding, while also partnering with larger national organisations such as SAFE Ireland and The National Women’s Council (NWCI) in more tactical and long-term goals. No matter the size of the grant we each have a shared vision of a better Ireland for women and girls and in turn a more equal and vibrant Ireland. 

Current priorities for the Women’s Fund at The Community Foundation for Ireland are the prevention of violence against women and the empowerment of women to take leadership roles in communities.

Prevention of violence against women

In Ireland;

  • 1 in 3 women have experienced psychological violence from a partner at some point in their lives
  • 1 in 6 has experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner since the age of 15
  • 1 in 4 Irish women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner since the age of 15.

Domestic violence has a host of devastating effects from physical and mental health issues to homelessness and economic pitfalls as well as perpetuating the cycle of violence and impacting the lives of children in a number of ways.

One of the flagship grantees of the Women’s Fund is SAFE Ireland, the national social change agency working on domestic violence in Ireland. Through The Community Foundation for Ireland’s own funds and through the generosity of our donors we have contributed more than €350,000 so far to support SAFE Ireland in its work. Below is a short impact video with Sharon O’ Halloran, CEO of SAFE Ireland on the impact funding has had.

Other grantees in the area of prevention of domestic violence include local women’s refuges and rape crisis centres in almost every county in Ireland.

Women in leadership

When it comes to Women in Leadership, despite often better educational outcomes, women overwhelming occupy less influential positions than their male counterparts, who remain the dominate decision-makers in Irish society.

  • Women on average earn less than 14.4% than men and are less likely to work in occupations that are highest paid
  • Women comprise just 13.2% of board members of the largest publicly listed companies
  • Of the 200 senior ministers in Irish governments from 1919 to 2018, only 18 have been women.

The Women’s Fund has significantly supported the work of Women for Election, whose aim is to inspire and equip women to succeed in Irish politics. We have also supported The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) to work with young women to develop a positive model of leadership that empowers them to play their part in shaping the future.

What’s next for the Women’s Fund?

We have seen great progress in the area of prevention of violence against women and women in leadership, however there is still an uphill battle ahead. The issues are far from being solved and a whole society approach is needed if we are to create real societal shifts.

Benefits of having a dedicated philanthropic fund focussed on women’s issues is that philanthropy can be more innovative and long-term focussed in the issues that is seeks to address. However, even though there are many benefits of philanthropic funding we need more individuals, families, corporates and other trusts and foundations to pool resources and have joined up thinking when it comes to solving these issues that are harming Ireland’s women and girls. Philanthropy is at the forefront in Ireland and we need many more donors of both major and minor means to step forward and use their resources and influence to look at addressing gender inequality in Ireland.

 In 2019 The Community Foundation for Ireland will continue to promote the Women’s Fund and encourage more donors, funders and collaborators to partner with us in achieving a more equitable society for women and girls. If you would like to find out more about contributing to the Women’s Fund please contact our Fund Development team here.

To read more about the impact The Community Foundation for Ireland has created for women and girls in Ireland click here.

If you would like to find out more information about the Women's Fund or how you could contribute visit our Giving section or contact the Fund Development team