Ireland’s Approach to Sustainable Gender Equality – SDG 5 Nationally

How is Ireland’s government working towards workplace gender inclusion? SDG 5 aims to: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” in Ireland and this exploration uses SDG as a lens.

Gendelity’s explores aspects related to workplace gender inclusion.

Let’s look firstly at the stated ambition of Ireland’s public sector guided by government policy nationally and the current status of same. Secondly we explore how (& whether) these national frameworks cascade into local government implementation.

To achieve the SDGs, governments, businesses, communities and individuals will all have to work together. Everyone can contribute to that work, from businesses adopting sustainable corporate strategies, to communities working together to improve their local environment, to the individual choices we all make as consumers.”

Government of Ireland,
The Sustainable Development Goals National Implementation Plan 2018-2020

“Repealing laws that discriminate against women and girls …. and ending the gender pay gap are just some of the areas we are targeting”

 UN Secretary-General António Guterres

So Ireland’s ambition is to fully implement the SDGs by 2030 and our UN Ambassador co-chaired the final negotiation and adoption of the SDGs by 193 countries. Agenda 2030 reaffirmed the importance of the gender gap in incorporating women into employment (ILO, 2016). The Sustainable Development Goal National Implementation Plan 2018 – 2020

Approaches at this level state:

  • “Beginning in 2018, include reference in all new Statements of Strategy to all SDG targets for which a Department has lead responsibility” and
  • “Identify those items of departmental expenditure which support specific SDGs”.

The following national strategies includes elements support Ireland’s work towards SDG 5.

List of national strategies excerpt from Ireland's SDG National Implement Plan 2018 - 2020
project Ireland 2040: National Planning Framework, Project Ireland 2040: National Development Plan 2018 -2027, National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017 - 2020, National Action plan for Social Inclusion 2018 - 2012, Enterprise 2025 Renewed, Towards Responsible Business: Ireland's National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2017 - 2020, and Realizing our Rural Potential: Action Plan for Rural Development
Excerpt from Ireland’s SDG National Implement Plan 2018 – 2020

Goal => Target => Indicator

SDG 5 => Target 5.x => Indicators 5.x.y

SDGs are about universal human rights, and with targets and indicators, “equality must apply not only to opportunities, but also outcomes.” (Ravazi, 2016, pp 28)

All sustainable developing goals, SDGs, use a nested structure where goals become targets, and targets are measured against indicators. While Gendelity is focused on workplace gender inclusion, select SDG 5 targets outside the workplace directly impact women’s access to workplace opportunity.

SDG 5 Targets Applicable for Workplace Gender Inclusion

Target 5.1 – End all forms of discriminate against all women and girls everywhere.

Target 5.4 – Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate.

Target 5.5 – Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.

SDG 5 Indicators Relevant for Workplace Gender Inclusion

Indicators help avoid a focus on action rather than outcomes, i.e. results.

Sustainable Development Goal 5 With Select Targets & Indicators With Particularly Relevant For Workplace Gender Inclusion

Working Towards SDG 5 In Ireland – National Goals, Targets and Indicators

Included in Ireland’s plan to implement the SDGs are aspirations to:

  • address entrenched inequalities.
  • mainstream a gender perspective into policy.
  • improve the percentages of women in senior management.

In 2018 via the Voluntary National Review of SDGs, Ireland’s government set out the national mechanism to address the aspirations of SDG 5.4 and 5.5 targets using a “whole-of-government framework” and the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017 – 2020. These two targets are particularly relevant for workplace gender equality in Ireland.

SDG Target 5.4 – gender imbalance in unpaid care workSDG Target 5.4 – gender imbalance in unpaid care work
SDG Target 5.5 – gender imbalance in leadership positionsSDG Target 5.5 – gender imbalance in leadership positions
Department of Justice and Equality

As the indicators make clear, gender balance in leadership refers to political leadership, economic leadership, i.e. business leadership, and public-sector leadership. Considering these indicators, what can be measured reliably and how is Ireland doing?

Ireland’s SDG National Indicator SDG 5.5.1 – Women in National and Local Government

Data Source: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division

Ireland’s SDG National Indicator 5.5.2 – Proportion of Women in Managerial Positions (%)

On the government’s national indicator data source, raw data is available as an approximation for this indicator.

“…. the proportion of the female population at work in a management, director or senior official role. The layer has been developed as a proxy to represent SDG 5.5.2. ‘Proportion of Women in Managerial Positions’ for Ireland. Census 2016 data produced by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and NUTS 3 boundary data produced by Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) were used.”

There’s also an EU’s Definition of women in private sector managerial positions.

Ireland’s SDG National Indicator 5.5.2 – Proportion of women in senior and middle management positions (%)

Data for this indicator seems to be lacking. 🙁

If you know of a data source please let us know. The bits and pieces of data available, such as via the 30% Club and ‘Better Balance, Better Boards’ show Ireland has yet to meet this indicator.

Further Resources on Ireland’s National SDG 5 – Gender Equality


Your Actions To Move Ireland Towards SDG 5 – Gender Equality