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Young Women Bring ‘Each for Equal’ Message to the Assembly

Session: 2019/2020

Date: 06 March 2020

Reference: SO 02/19/20

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey MLA, today hosted a special debate in the Assembly Chamber with more than 90 young women representing 33 schools and youth organisations.

The young women delivered speeches on issues ranging from women’s health and education to the need to increase and better support female participation in politics, the workplace and society as a whole. 

Speaking at today’s event, the Assembly Speaker said: “I am delighted to welcome so many young women to Parliament Buildings to celebrate International Women’s Day.  The laws that are made here matter to the wider community, and International Women’s Day is the ideal time to create a platform to hear the voices of young women on the issues that are important to them.” 

“In the past ten years the level of female representation in the Assembly has significantly improved but there is still much more to be done to reflect the percentage of women in our population.  With greater female representation and participation, the Assembly can better reflect our local communities and effectively influence decision making and the provision of our public services.”

“I hope that having the opportunity to experience how the Assembly works first hand will encourage young women to get involved in the political process and help them to understand how they can be heard and influence decisions which impact on them. ”

The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Women’s Caucus also attended and supported today’s event. The Caucus is a cross-party group of female MLAs which was officially launched on International Women’s Day in 2016. 

The newly elected Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly Women’s Caucus Clare Bailey MLA said: “The Women’s Caucus are dedicated to growing the female talent in Northern Ireland to lead, to govern and to represent. Lots of hard work across all our parties goes into making this a reality and there is no finer representation of our goals than seeing young women from across Northern Ireland argue for a better society.

This International Women’s Day the theme is #EachforEqual and we are inspired to see such a diverse range of young women, with so many different experiences in their lives, make the case for equality.  We have been very impressed with all the conversations today. If these young women come forward to lead then the future is bright for Northern Ireland. We all have a responsibility to enable that. ”

As part of the global celebrations to commemorate International Women’s Day, Parliament Buildings will be lit purple on the evening of Sunday 8 March. 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey MLA, today hosted a special debate in the Assembly Chamber with more than 90 young women representing 33 schools and youth organisations.

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