Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Gender Equality

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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262. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he is taking to identify and address gender pay disparity in his Department and public bodies and agencies that operate under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17358/22]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Department of Foreign Affairs is fully committed to promoting gender, equality, diversity and inclusion and creating a culture of dignity and respect in the workplace, as set out in our Statement of Strategy 2021-2023. Over recent years, my Department has taken a proactive and strategic approach to advancing gender equality and wider diversity and inclusion issues. In 2012, a Management Board Sub-Committee focusing on diversity and inclusion issues, including Gender Equality was established, which brings together key stakeholders across the Department to provide leadership and strategic direction.

As part of my Department’s Human Resources Strategy 2019-2022, a number of initiatives and policies have been advanced to improve gender, equality, diversity and inclusion. In 2019, a dedicated Lead Officer for Gender, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion was appointed who co-ordinates work in this area across the Department. Through the Human Resources Strategy 2019-2022, as part of a wider Gender Equality Action Plan, my Department has published a Maternity Leave Cover Policy; a Guide to Supports for Maternity, Adoptive and Parental Leave; and is finalising the adoption of a Menopause Policy, which is expected to be launched in Q2 2022.

Since 2019, my Department has published three reports on the Gender Pay Gap within DFA and in 2021 developed a Gender Pay Gap Action Plan. The Action Plan is structured around four key pillars: Workforce Planning; Support for Female Colleagues; Data Management and Analysis; and Outreach. Part of the analytics process shows that the Department of Foreign Affairs has reduced its Gender Pay Gap from over 30% in 2013 to 15.17% in 2021 and has made determined efforts to work towards a better gender balance at senior HQ and overseas positions. My Department’s current Gender Pay Gap has been determined based on internal calculations. The next Departmental Gender Pay Gap report will be published in line with regulations introduced under the Gender Pay Gap Information Act, 2021.

More broadly, as part of my Department’s commitment to tackling the Gender Pay Gap, it led on the establishment of an inter-departmental working group on the Gender Pay Gap, which acts as an informal means of sharing best practices in the area of reducing the Gender Pay Gap and promoting Gender Equality across the Civil Service.

While my Department has taken positive steps to reduce the Gender Pay Gap, I am conscious that further efforts are required to reduce the gap and I am committed to ensuring that work continues. The Department’s Human Resources Division is presently in the final stages of the development of a Gender, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan which aims to further progress in the area of Gender Equality and also across the spectrum of equality, diversity and inclusion issues.

There are no public bodies or agencies under the aegis of the Department of Foreign Affairs.


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