Monday 08 March 2021
On International Women's Day, 8 March 2021, the Northern Ireland Assembly Women's Caucus will bring forward their first motion for debate in the Assembly Chamber. The motion calls for the Assembly to endorse the Women's Caucus Action Plan on measures to adopt a Gender Sensitive Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Women's Caucus brings forward this motion based on the recommendations contained in the Assembly Executive Review Committee report on Women in Politics and the Northern Ireland Assembly, which proposed the adoption of measures from local, national and international best practice to create a Gender Sensitive Northern Ireland Assembly.
This report considered the key challenges and barriers facing women in relation to entry into politics in Northern Ireland and in particular the Northern Ireland Assembly, and offered recommendations on mechanisms to enhance the role of women already active in the political sphere, as a matter of urgency to address the under-representation of women in politics in Northern Ireland.
The Women's Caucus present an action plan based on targeted measures to create this Gender Sensitive Assembly, which focuses on four pillars: processes that facilitate universal participation; actions that promote equality and participation; an accessible environment; and gender-sensitive political parties.
Clare Bailey MLA, Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Assembly Women's Caucus said:
"Marginalisation of women from the political sphere is not a theory, nor is it an opinion - it is a known fact. Our count of 35% women MLAs is not good enough.
"The Women’s Caucus is working to address this marginalisation by focusing on the structural barriers to women's full participation in political life, and creating targeted action to break those barriers down, towards a vision of a Northern Ireland where women are equally represented in politics.
"Our aim is to encourage women to get into politics, support them when they're elected, enable them to remain in those positions, and champion their progression.
"We call on the Northern Ireland Assembly to endorse our Gender Sensitive Assembly Action Plan. The potential here is transformative."
Rosemary Barton MLA, Deputy Chairperson of the Women's Caucus said:
"We want to create a Gender Sensitive Northern Ireland Assembly that is accessible and that facilitates and promotes equality and participation between men and women. There is work to be done, and the Women's Caucus Action Plan lays out essential and achievable priorities, and strategic well targeted interventions - for the Assembly environment, its processes and structures, as well as for the political parties.
"A Gender Sensitive Assembly is founded on the principle of gender equality so that both men and women can access their equal right to participate without discrimination."
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498