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Gender Mainstreaming the Rural Development Programme

Updating a case study of Northern Ireland.

Welcome to the Gender Mainstreaming the Rural Development Programme 2012 web pages.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the most expensive EU policy and has undergone a range of reforms since its inception in 1957. One of the most radical reforms was the move away from only funding agriculture to also funding area-based rural development.  The Rural Development Programme is the main source of development money for rural areas across Europe. The fourth Programme costs 88 billion euro across the EU, and the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme in Northern Ireland is worth approximately 540 million pounds.  Concern has been expressed at a regional level, and by the European Parliament and Commission, that the Rural Development Programme (RDP) is not having a sufficient impact on women.

The project will update previous work by Shortall and Kelly Gender Proofing CAP Reform (2001) on how to more effectively engage women in the Rural Development Programme (RDP) for Northern Ireland.  The timing of the research is significant as it can inform the end of the current Programme and the drafting of the next Programme post 2013.  While +the research specifically focuses on Northern Ireland, the findings will be relevant to other regions in the EU and for new accession countries. The research will also contribute to the theoretical literature on gender mainstreaming, specifically by critically reflecting on whether there are tensions between the EU’s commitment to address structural gender inequalities through gender mainstreaming on the one hand, and its economic priorities on the other.

The research process will actively engage with policy makers, civil society actors and the political sphere.  It is being designed in close consultation with the Department of Agriculture Northern Ireland (DARD), the Local Action Groups who deliver the RDP, women’s networks, and key rural development and agricultural organisations.  We are also drawing on national and European academic and policy expertise through our e-Group , as well as convening a panel of potential research audiences (IAP)  and users to enhance the usefulness of planned briefing papers.

This research is funded by a research grant from the Economic and Social Research Council’s Follow-on Fund.  Financial and other support for this project is also provided by our project partners: DARD , the Rural Community Network  and the Northern Ireland Rural Women’s Network.


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