The activities of the Department of Women and Children centre around rural women who are above 20 years of age and deprived in either or both of the following ways:
- never went to school or could not pass the School Leaving Certificate examination, hence deprived in educational terms; and
- unable to live on the produce of own land or the regular source of income of the family throughout the year, hence deprived in economic terms.
Based on the 2010 National Population Census, the number of women to be reached adds up to 5.196 million. This is a rough estimate, though. To arrive at the net number, one will have to make the following deductions:
- women who, by virtue of their business, deal in produce or labour other than their own and, therefore, cannot be expected to genuinely participate in the process of co-operative action;
- women who have personal ambitions that are in conflict with those of others in the community; and
- women who do not intend to participate in the programme of the Department of their own volition.
Quite conceivably, the exact figure is hard to come by. Perhaps a 20 per cent allowance will not be unrealistic. Thus the actual size of the targent group comes close to 4.157 million.