Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund

The Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund is a €1.8 Million Fund over three years created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland in partnership with Bank of America and the Department of Rural and Community Development. The Department of Rural and Community Development provides match funding for all philanthropic funds raised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund is the first fund in Ireland to support charities and social enterprises that seek to enhance the economic mobility of women and is designed specifically to equip these organisations to expand their business acumen, drive growth and deepen their impact across Ireland. Over the next three years, the Fund aims to empower 1,000 women to secure employment, enhancing the economic mobility of women across Ireland.

On October 3rd, we announced the Six Awardees of our Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund. Each Awardee supports and empowers women to progress their education or progress into new or more sustainable employment.


Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund Award

Dress for Success Dublin

Dress for Success Dublin was founded by Sonya Lennon in 2011. Based on an international model, their founding principle in Ireland was to promote the economic independence of women, by delivering a pincer movement: supporting individual women to enter the workforce with confidence, while initiating a national discussion on barriers to economic equality for women. The services on offer include their suiting service, work wardrobe, career advice service and their developmental programmes including mentoring, returnships and financial education. Since opening their doors, they have reached 2700 individual women.

Amplifying Rural Voices

The ‘Amplifying Rural Women’s Voices’ created by Equal Ireland will see 120 women gain degrees having acquired new skills and knowledge in such areas as Social and Commercial Enterprise, Community Development, Leadership and Management which will prepare them for employment and promotional opportunities as well as voluntary endeavours. Another cohort of women will receive Special Purpose Awards in the fields of Social Enterprise Development and Governance and in Mentoring Applicants for Recognition of Prior Learning especially but not exclusively for entrance to 3rd Level Programmes.

Here Comes the Girls

The ‘Here Comes the Girls Programme’ created by Westmeath Community Development will work with over 120 females from Westmeath over the next 3 years. The programme will remove barriers that exist for many females that prevent and discourage some from taking part in training and upskilling such as childcare costs, lack of transport, uncertainty and lack of prior training and/or work experience. Each course will offer women an opportunity to gain relevant labour market training and qualifications in roles that are in high demand in the following industries: retail, hospitality & care.

Integration from Day One

Integration from Day One created by Irish Refugee Council is a project that addresses the main barriers and challenges that refugee women face in developing and maintaining skills while in the asylum process, or seeking employment once eligible to work, through a tailored package of support and training. Recognising the importance of early integration, the project is unique in that it supports women at all stages of the asylum process, as well as those with refugee status, by delivering employment-related and personal development training, incorporating new technological solutions, and connecting women with local supporting partners and employers.

Super Women

Super Women; Empowering Trans Women into the Workplace is a project delivered by the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), that addresses the inequality and inaccessibility of the labour market for trans-women. It empowers trans-women themselves to gain confidence and skills while also working with employers to develop policies to make work processes more inclusive. Participants take part in a two-day personal development course which will build confidence in gender expression, personal resilience and provide information on health options relating to transition.

Women's Education Programme

An Cosán’s Women's Education Programme will address the major challenge of providing empowering and effective progression routes through education into quality employment for disadvantaged women particularly women parenting alone. The project encompasses a 2-year progression pathway which will enable these women to fulfil their potential and exit poverty permanently. For 33 years An Cosán, a life-long learning initiative, in Tallaght West has facilitated over 19,000 learners to engage successfully in education.