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  Irish Congress of Trade Union Logo Equality Commission NI logo

Women's Policy Group                                    


Embargo: 2.00pm, 10 November 2003

Contact Una O’Kane, Equality Commission tel. 9089 0862, mobile 07808 366033

A Women’s Manifesto: Putting Women in the Picture

The Manifesto challenges the incoming Assembly to place gender equality in the mainstream of policy making.

“Women in Northern Ireland make up a diverse group in terms of age, social class, life experience, racial and ethnic background, sexual orientation, disability and religious and political belief,” said Annie Campbell, Commissioner for the Equality Commission.  “This Manifesto recognises that diversity and women will recognise the topics it contains.  While women have made huge gains, society here does not come near to being equal.” 

Katrina Cooley of ICTU pointed out that, “Women in Northern Ireland are at greater risk of poverty at all stages of their lives.  They earn 81% of men’s earning and are more likely to be concentrated in low paid, low status jobs and work part-time.  It is therefore vital that political parties and politicians answer these demands to ensure that women have the resources to lift themselves out of poverty.” 

“The Women’s Manifesto has been endorsed by numerous women’s groups and organisations.  This shows the determination of women here to work for the removal of the barriers that prevent their full and equal participation in society.”   Margaret Ward of the Women’s Policy Group added, “The reality is that women are not represented in decision making roles or in politics – only 14% of the NI Assembly were women. More has to be done to ensure that women are represented at all levels of public life, if they are to get their voices heard. A new Assembly brings with it the opportunity to place the issues highlighted in this Manifesto at the heart of Government policy.” 

Notes to the Editor 

·               The key gender equality areas highlighted in the Women’s Manifesto are: -

o       Economic Independence

o       The Community Women’s Sector

o       Women and Decision-Making

o       Sexual and Reproductive Health

o       Domestic Violence