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No Peace Without Women: WRDA calls on Secretary of State to address gender imbalance in NI

30th October 2014


On Monday 27th October, Secretary of State Theresa
Secretary of State visits WRDAVilliers visited the WRDA offices for a fruitful discussion about the current position of women in Northern Ireland.

The meeting provided a great opportunity for the WRDA team to raise pertinent issues, such as the under-representation of women in public and political life and the pressing need to address this in light of the ongoing peace talks.

We also highlighted our own work with women, including managing the Live and Learn Project, which offers women training through 14 women’s centres, and running the Community Facilitator Programme, which provides women with a level 3 qualification, facilitation and leadership skills, and the opportunity to secure employment providing WRDA training.

Ms Villiers was provided with a copy of a policy toolkit that we produced as part of the Women and Peacebuilding Project with CFNI, NWCI and Foundations for Peace Network. The toolkit is aimed at decision makers and is specifically designed to show them how to incorporate women’s views in their work.

After a very productive hour of discussion, the meeting rounded off with talk of possible initiatives for positive action to redress gender imbalance at both local and regional governmental level, as well as within the political parties themselves.

WRDA Director Anne McVicker, commented, “We were pleased to have the opportunity to discuss such important and pressing issues with Ms Villiers. We feel strongly that there needs to be more female role models in political life as it would make politics more inclusive and transparent.

“Actions by Governments and political parties in NI should tackle the under-representation of women and build women's leadership and visibility to enrich democracy, policy debate and decision-making. When considering strategies to do so we need to ensure that it applies to all women, including those from culturally diverse backgrounds and disadvantaged communities. “

Here at WRDA we plan to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the Secretary of State, to ensure that women’s voices are heard by decision makers.

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