WRDA Director Represents Women at Joint Forum Meeting
WRDA Director Anne McVicker recently addressed government departments on behalf of the women’s sector at a Joint Forum meeting. The meeting, which took place in NICVA on Friday 15th May, was an opportunity for Anne to outline the vital services provided by women and how they are being disproportionately threatened by the current spate of funding cuts. Anne spoke on behalf of WRDA, and as one of the seven partners of the Women’s Regional Consortium, which represents women in disadvantaged and rural communities across NI, as well as reflecting the views of the wider women’s sector. She drew attention to the front line services delivered by women’s groups and organisations, including trauma counselling, support for those affected by domestic and sexual abuse, mental and physical health, education, training and employability, childcare, early years, after school and family support, diversity, community planning services, WRDA’s own health promotion programmes – the list goes on. In terms of the impact of the cuts, Anne stressed that there is no one department with responsibility for all these services, as the women’s sector receive funding across all government departments. In which case, either ministers are not aware or they are not taking into account the cumulative effect of the cuts on our sector. All of these cuts, on top of Welfare Reform, will have a disproportionate impact on women as they make up two thirds of the public sector workforce. Furthermore the cuts in the pipeline to Working Tax credits and Child Tax credits to lone parents will have a considerably more detrimental impact on women, as they make up 95% of lone parents. Anne called on the Ministers and departments to be aware of this, and that while the women’s sector acknowledges the challenges they are facing, a measured, co-ordinated and proportionate response is key to ensuring women’s work can continue – as once infrastructure and core costs are gone, the projects and programmes providing vital services across NI will be gone forever. Image courtesy of NICVA.