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Minister Kehoe reaffirms commitment to increasing female participation in Defence Forces
on International Women’s Day

Mr Paul Kehoe, T.D., Minister with Responsibility for Defence commented that “It is fitting on this International Women’s Day to celebrate and reflect on the contribution of women to Irish public life and, from my perspective, to the Defence Forces in particular. It is worth reiterating the Government’s commitment to a policy of equal opportunity for men and women throughout the Defence Forces and to the full participation by women in all aspects of Defence Forces activities. This is exemplified in the Defence Forces Equality Policy and the Defence Forces Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Statement and Action Plan which outlines the Organisation’s commitment to gender equality and its proactive approaches to recruiting females”.

Reflecting on the deployment of female peacekeepers, Minister Kehoe said

“Ireland’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, which is based on UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, aims to ensure that the rights and protection of women and girls are observed during and after conflict and that the role of women in decision-making around conflict and post-conflict situations is enhanced. The Irish Defence Forces have developed a targeted Defence Forces Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325, based strongly on Ireland’s overall National Action Plan.

The presence of women contributes greatly to the sense of security of local populations. It broadens the skills set available within a peacekeeping mission and importantly provides role models for women, both at home and abroad.

The promotion of a strong gender perspective is a key element of all our peacekeeping operations. The further development of female participation in peacekeeping contingents is one of the projects which I will continue to advance.”

The Minister continued that “Into the future, a more inclusive Defence Forces will remain a priority and very much to the fore in my Department’s remit.”

Over the course of the White Paper on Defence 2015, a ten year strategy, further initiatives will be developed to encourage more women to apply for the Defence Forces and to increase female participation at all ranks. This will include a survey to identify any impediments to the advancement of women in the Permanent Defence Forces, as well as the impact of the requirements of career courses and overseas service on female retention and advancement.

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