Speaker announces "Assembly Women's Week"

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 08 February 2016

Reference: SO 14/15/16

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mitchel McLaughlin, MLA, today announced that he will host the first “Assembly Women’s Week” beginning on Monday 7th March.

The week will see a range of events held in Parliament Buildings all with the theme of supporting and increasing female participation. Details of each event will be unveiled over the coming weeks.

Speaker McLaughlin said: “During my time in office, I have sought to continue to highlight the need for greater female representation. If the Assembly is to respect the community it represents it must better reflect the fact that the majority of our population is female. The current level of only 23 female MLAs out of a total of 108 is simply indefensible.  There may be different views on how to address it but there can be no doubt that it requires dedicated effort from all of us including our institutions and wider society but there is also no political party that does not have more to do in this field.

“There have been some very positive developments recently with the appointment of our first female First Minister, 40% of Ministers in the Executive are now female and, closer to my own responsibilities, a majority of the elected representatives on the Assembly Commission are women. However, this momentum cannot be maintained without vastly increasing the number of female MLAs in the Assembly.

“Last year the Assembly and Executive Review Committee released a significant report on “Women in Politics”. In order to continue to highlight this issue as we draw closer to the elections, I hope "Assembly Women's Week" will provide a platform to debate the barriers that women face in a range of fields and to encourage women to put themselves forward.

“I believe that “Assembly Women’s Week” and some of the exciting initiatives which will be part of it will be an extremely positive way to draw this Assembly mandate to a close with a focus on an agenda which is vitally important to the future of our politics.”

ENDS

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