Six inspiring projects focused on enhancing the economic mobility of women in Ireland that have the potential to generate 1,000 jobs have received €1.8m in funding under the inaugural Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund.

The €1.8m fund is the first of its kind in Ireland to support charitable and social enterprise organisations that seek to enhance the economic mobility of women, by investing in organisations that provide training, upskilling, work experience, education and other services directly to disadvantaged women.

The funding awards were announced last night (3 October 2019) by Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Seán Canney TD at a special event held in Smock Alley in Dublin.

“We are delighted to be part of this new Fund and look forward to working with the awardees to support 1,000 women of Ireland into employment over the next three years”

The awards were made via Social Innovation Fund Ireland, in partnership with Bank of America and the Department of Rural and Community Development.

“This €1.8m fund will support these organisations to scale and deepen their impact across the country. Our goal is not only to empower these women into sustained employment, but to enable them to fulfil their potential and lead more secure, successful lives,” explained Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland.

Three women holding a certificate standing in front of a colourful painting.

From left: Anne Finucane, chair, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Europe and vice chair, Bank of America; Nuala Smith, operations manager, Dress for Success; and Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland. Image: Marc O’Sullivan

The six inspiring Awardees, which include projects that support single-parent women, refugees and transgender women were chosen from over 70 applications. Each submission went through a rigorous application and interview process to ensure they met the criteria and high standards set out for the Fund and its Awardees.

“We are delighted to be part of this new Fund and look forward to working with the awardees to support 1,000 women of Ireland into employment over the next three years,” said Ann Finucane, chair, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Europe and vice chair, Bank of America.

“Today, women make up more than half of our global workforce and we are steadfast in bringing forward conversations about gender, race and social equality to the business. We work to effect meaningful, lasting positive change to the communities in which we operate and serve and are incredibly proud to be part of this initiative,” Finucane added.

Large group of people standing side by side.

The six awardees with Patty Clement, EU chief operating officer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Anne Finucane, chair, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Europe and vice chair, Bank of America, and Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland. Image: Marc O’Sullivan

The six successful Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund Awardees are:

Women’s Education Programme (An Cosán VVC)

Women’s Education Programme offers -women marginalised from the workforce, a flexible part-time education through a blended learning model of online lectures and in-person workshops.

Dress for Success Dublin

Dress for Success Dublin gives individuals ongoing access to skilled recruitment professionals and educational programmes to equip them with the skills and confidence to partake in the economic opportunities available to them.

Here Comes the Girls (Westmeath Community Development)

Here Comes the Girls works by pre-empting potential skills demands of local employers and offering employers bespoke training and recruitment opportunities to meet their staffing needs, while also equipping local women with the skills required to perform these jobs and enter employment.

Integration from Day One (Irish Refugee Council)

Integration from Day One supports refugee women in Ireland from the earliest stages of the asylum process to build opportunities and skills to successfully integrate and find their place in the labour market.

Amplifying Rural Women’s Voices (EQUAL Ireland)

Amplifying Rural Women’s Voices provides blended learning to women living in rural areas, combining workshops, a co-operative learning environment, online and outreach delivery, in partnership with communities.

Super Women (Transgender Equality Network Ireland)

Super Women addresses the inequality and inaccessibility of the labour market for transgender women.

Main image at top (from left): Jasmine Brady, An Cosán Virtual Community College; Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland; Patty Clement, EU chief operating officer at Bank of America; and Dr Catherine Breathnach, national director of Education, and Maria Flanagan, An Cosán Community College. Image: Marc O’Sullivan

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 4 October, 2019

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