20 years since the Good Friday Agreement – It’s time the value of women’s peace building work is recognised

In the latest part of our sHERed Future series, Kellie Turtle (Feminist Activist and WRDA’s Women’s Sector Lobbyist) writes about the role of women in peace building in Northern Ireland In any discussion of women’s participation in building peace in Northern Ireland it is important to say that women have always been politically active agents of change here; from the suffragettes who were the first hunger strikers in our prisons, to the trade unionists who fought child labour and exploitation … Read more

Alternative Ulster – five women who shaped Northern Ireland…

Jenny McEneaney is a sHERed Future Co-Producer she writes for Slugger today about some of the women who have an important impact on local politics and society. Presenting five women who shaped the Northern Ireland of today Happy International Women’s Day! This year’s theme is Press for Progress in recognition of how far we (men, women, society) still have to strive before realising gender equality. This year’s International Women’s Day provides a degree of poignancy for Northern Ireland as we … Read more

A century since Markievicz MP – are we much further on?

In the lead-up to the Assembly election I looked at the potential gender representation of the cohort returning to the Hill. A record 27 out of 90 Assembly members (30%) were returned. From looking at the 18 constituencies there are 12 seats that will be not be filled by female candidates. This is due, in most cases, to the almost certain re-election of incumbents or that the nearest challenger is another man. Countess Markievicz was of course the first woman … Read more

Could next week see a break through in women in the Assembly?

So will next week’s poll see the breaking of more glass ceilings for female representation in the Assembly?  Time will tell. But as we political nerds have fun tallying the possible final outcomes for political parties we should also look at potential gender outcomes. Foyle (0/1) Surprisingly Derry has only one female candidate placed to be in with a shout. Elisha McCallion the former Mayor of Derry and Strabane has a good profile in the city and has a reputation … Read more

A Women’s election?

Andrée Murphy is a Columnist with the Andersonstown News Sitting in my living room on Thursday night seeing three women leaders of the local parties and two male leaders on the two fringes made me chuckle. I tweeted it was hard to believe that it was Michelle O’Neill’s first time in the spot as leader, such was her composure and capability. But then I also realised that it was also Naomi Long’s first time in that position too. I suppose … Read more

Are women making their mark in political leadership?

Regardless of whether you agree with their politics or not, the appointment of Michele O’Neill as Sinn Féin’s leader in Northern Ireland should be welcomed. Northern Ireland, potentially, could have female First and Deputy First Ministers. Of course that depends on how votes are cast on 2 March, however we now have women leading our two largest parties and if nothing else, it shows that it is possible to reach the top. Combine this with the leadership of Naomi Long … Read more

Collins: “The bottom line is you either support the idea of gender balance in our national parliament or you don’t.”

Suzanne Collins is the Director of Operations and Campaigns for Women for Election the non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation that works to inspire and equip more women to succeed in politics. Responding to John McGuirk, she writes about why his central thesis on women in politics is wrong… What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So true of our political system. Over and over women failed to be selected or encouraged … Read more

Women of Northern Ireland- we need our own political party

The so called ‘trickle down’ effect is one of the most hallowed ideas projected onto social justice issues. But it’s also one of the most flawed.    Women in Northern Ireland have been told for years to bide our time and wait for gender equality to trickle down. Female representation at Stormont and Westminster has been dire for decades, but, so goes the myth, there’s nothing we can do about it except sit and wait for the tide to turn naturally.    … Read more

Gender Quotas & Politics – candidate quotas can improve competency of candidates of both genders! #imaginebelfast15

Prof Yvonne Galligan introduced the topic of Gender Quotas at an Imagine!2015 Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics session up at Queen’s University earlier today. Looking across national parliaments in Europe, women make up >40% in Finland, Sweden, Belgium and Spain. The UK manages a shade over 20%, and Ireland just 15%. See the slides under this post. Yvonne looked at a four-stage journey from citizen to representative and the obstacles that face someone being eligible -> aspiring -> nominated … Read more

Friday Thread: What crazy woman would pop her head through a glass ceiling?

Well, probably not in general. Definitely not in politics. And certainly not in Ireland, where in the Republic just 15% of politicians are women. But elsewhere, in the global marketplace this is changing rapidly, as Hanna Rosin points out in her TED talk: …for every two men who get a college degree, three women will do the same. Women, for the first time this year, became the majority of the American workforce. And they’re starting to dominate lots of professions … Read more

Cochrane: I know so many brilliant women who hold back in their careers for fear of being cut down. It’s time to put those fears behind us and create a more progressive society for us all.

Continuing on with our series, Alliance party MLA, Judith Cochrane writes for us about her experiences in the Assembly Northern Ireland has seen momentous change since the 1970s. Politically, socially and culturally, we have made huge strides over the past few decades, and have become a more progressive and inclusive society. Women have certainly come a long way. I feel fortunate to have been raised and educated in an age where girls were encouraged to explore their potential, to be … Read more

Jo-Anne Dobson: We need to inspire change rather than force it

Slugger will be running a series of articles over the next few weeks highlighting the issue of women in politics. First up is the Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson writing about her experiences in the Assembly. A few months after I was elected to Stormont I found myself standing on the front steps of Parliament Buildings with some fellow MLAs to support a local charity’s latest initiative. The charity had sent us details of what they were promoting and asked … Read more

Women in Politics in Northern Ireland

The issue of women in politics, or lack of them to be more accurate has been an issue pondered by academics, pressure groups and political parties alike for years. In September 2013, Michael Potter prepared a research paper on this topic for the Northern Ireland Assembly and his findings make for sobering reading as he states; The Northern Ireland Assembly currently has 21 female Members out of a total of 108 (19.4%), although 20 women were elected in 2011, the … Read more

Would more women in Stormont help improve our politics?

Interesting piece from this week’s Hearts and Minds on the vexed issue of how to get more women into politics. Sandra Overend (UUP, Mid Ulster) worries that privleging women would create uncertainty. Not an unreasonable concern. And yet, it is remarkable that there are so few women in the political class. Although things have improved considerably since 1998, only one in five of the MLAs in Stormont are female. It’s interesting to note that although not all of the top … Read more