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Great 31st year celebrated

14th November 2014


Many WRDA members joined us in celebrating
our 2013/14 AGM in the Black Box, Belfast, on Tuesday 4th November. The night mixed business with pleasure as we all looked back on our successful 31st year.

At the start of the AGM, guests had a chance to network, while enjoying live harp music played by our talented Administration Assistant Nieve Carberry.

Siobhan Kearney, Management Committee Chair, spoke first, welcoming everyone and thanking the rest of the Committee and both past and present staff for all their hard work throughout the year. She also announced this would be her final AGM as she was planning to stand down from the Committee to make way for new members. She will be sorely missed, but wished us all well for the future.

WRDA Director Anne McVicker presented our Annual Report 2013/14, which was produced in-house with input from the whole team. She talked about how, despite her many years of experience, she had not realised until replacing Margaret Ward as WRDA Director in January 2014 the true extent and volume of work undertaken by the organisation in empowering women, providing support, lobbying, engaging women, influencing policy and tackling inequalities.

She said, “On taking up the Director post, I was somewhat overwhelmed and humbled to realise that I would now walk in the footsteps of those women who had gone before and directed and positioned WRDA in its current role as a lead women’s organisation fulfilling a key role within the women’s sector in NI.”

Anne then provided an overview of the year, talking about WRDA’s major achievements such as the growth in membership and continued success of the Community Facilitator Programme and Live and Learn Project. She also highlighted our involvement in
Reclaim The Agenda and the new Women’s Regional Consortium, our policy and advocacy work, and our ongoing dedication to sharing information across the women’s sector.

She concluded, “As my first year as Director nears an end, I’m taking a deep breath and preparing myself for the close of some projects and the beginning of new projects and work which will realise our strategic aims and objectives and be a visible force for change and influence for women in all areas of life.”

Our accounts were presented by Finance and HR Manager Geraldine Burns, who also gave some helpful tips to other organisations considering applying for the new round of ESF funding.

Some further changes to our Management Committee were announced, with both Caroline McCord of Women’s Information NI (WINI) and Eleanor Jordan from Windsor Women’s Centre joining. We were delighted to welcome them on board.

We then heard a great speech on feminism and sexism in the modern age from guest speaker Fidelma Carolan (Equality Commission/UNISON). Fidelma discussed the need for women’s voices to be heard in debates about women, with a particular focus on the new online arenas of public discourse that have emerged in recent years, such as Twitter.

She finished by urging women to make sure they were joining forces with others to face down all forms of discrimination. She said, “We need to be proactive as feminists and allies of others, standing up for anyone who is discriminated against.”

The night ended on a very positive note with Siobhan receiving flowers as thanks for her years of service on the Management Committee and our newly qualified Community Facilitators collecting their certificates from Fidelma.


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