Rethink Ireland, in partnership with Bank of America and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund are pleased to announce the launch of the new Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund 2023-2026. This $1 million Fund is committed to empowering women experiencing socio-economic disadvantage and migrant women, through targeted support for four to five non-profit organisations.
Jennifer Carroll MacNeill TD, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, said “The Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund is a powerful investment in the potential of women, particularly those most in need of assistance. It is heartening to see collaboration between private and public sectors towards a common goal of gender equality and social empowerment. I am pleased to see Rethink Ireland continue its partnership with Bank of America and the Irish Government, a move which will help empower more and more women to achieve their full potential through employment and education opportunities under the Fund.”
The Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund builds on the resounding success of the previous €2.2 million Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund, which empowered women across Ireland to enhance their economic mobility and secure employment. The previous Fund supported five Awardees, enabling 1,088 women to secure sustainable jobs, while a further 747 women were supported to enrol in accredited education programmes. The new Fund aims to support more than 850 women into employment and/or education programmes, with at least 260 of those women supported into quality, sustainable jobs.
Fernando Vicario, CEO of Bank of America Europe DAC, and Country Executive for Ireland said “At Bank of America, we are committed to Responsible Growth. We focus on enhancing economic mobility for the people and communities in which we work. We’ve been partnering with Rethink Ireland since 2019, and through that time have supported over 1,000 women into sustained employment. Building on our partnership, I am honoured to announce the continuation of our work together, with the launch of the Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund. This new initiative aims to support over 850 women into jobs and, or education programmes. We greatly look forward to seeing this new programme come to life.”
Throughout its lifespan, the Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund highlighted the disproportionate burden of domestic, childcare, and other care work borne by women in Ireland. Women with children in Ireland report spending an average of 42.6 hours per week on care work, while men report spending only 25.2 hours – 60% less than women. This disparity results in women opting out of education and careers to provide care in the home, highlighting the urgent need for programmes that address this imbalance.
Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland said “We are thrilled to launch the Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund and continue our commitment to empowering marginalised women across Ireland. Through our partnership with Bank of America and the Department of Rural and Community Development, we will support organisations that are dedicated to addressing the barriers faced by migrant women and other women marginalised from the workforce. By providing access to education and sustainable employment opportunities, we can create a more equal, inclusive and sustainable society for all.”
To celebrate the successful conclusion of the Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund 2020-2023, Rethink Ireland and Bank of America held an evening event on Wednesday April 19, 2023, at the National Gallery of Ireland. The event highlighted the accomplishments of the Fund Awardees and the impact they made in their communities with the support of the Fund. Applications for the Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Empowerment Fund 2023-2026 are now open. Interested not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply through Rethink Ireland’s website: www.rethinkireland.ie with the application period closing on Friday, 2nd June 2023.
Pictured: Stephanie Walsh, Rethink Ireland, Mavis Ramaznai, Irish Refugee Council and Heydi Foster, An Cosán at Bank of America’s Dublin HQ ahead of the launch of Rethink Ireland’s new ‘Mná Na hÉireann, Women Of Ireland Empowerment Fund’, supported by Bank of America and the Department of Rural and Community Development. Photo Marc O’Sullivan