McAleese launches women's fund


A NEW fund dedicated solely to women’s causes was launched yesterday in Dublin by President Mary McAleese.

The Women’s Fund for Ireland aims to address problems facing women and girls in Ireland including poverty, violence and improving access to healthcare and education. It will also support grassroots projects in areas such as the arts, literacy and support for carers.

The fund launch took place at a symposium on Women in Philanthropy, Realising the power and potential of women in philanthropy,which was hosted by Philanthropy Ireland and the Community Foundation for Ireland (CFI).

Speaking at the launch, Mrs McAleese said the current economic situation was “pretty much testosterone driven”.

“We are still living with the downstream consequences of what happens when you are given a bird with two wings and you insist on flying with one,” she told guests at the symposium.

She said a “toxic amalgam of cultural norms, stereotypes, laws and attitudes” had excluded women from many spheres through the centuries. The equality agenda, though far from complete, was radically altering the contributions made by women.

She said she was heartened to learn of the establishment of the Women’s Fund for Ireland and believed women would play an increasingly prominent role as philanthropic funders.

Tina Roche, chief executive of CFI, which matches donors with charities or community groups, pledged €100,000 on behalf of her organisation to begin the fund, which they hope to grow to €10 million.

She said there were 200 women’s funds worldwide and there was clearly a need for funding specifically for women.