Female membership of the Executive (OFMdfM) and Justice Committees

Information Standards Freedom of Information Response

Our Ref: FoI 02-21

01 February 2021 

Freedom of Information Act 2000

I can confirm that the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (Assembly Commission) holds information relevant to your request of 06 January 2021.  In your request you asked for the following information:

“1. How many women (total) have been members of the Executive Office (or OFMDFM) Committee since 1998?

There have been 18 female members of the Committee for the Executive Office (or OFMDFM Committee). There were 5 during the 1998-2002 mandate; 4 in the 2007-2011 mandate (1 of whom was Deputy Chairperson from May 2007 to June 2010); 5 during the 2011-2016 mandate; 2 during 2016-2017; and 2 during the current 2017-2022 mandate.


2. How many women, as a percentage of total membership, have been appointed to the Executive Office (or OFMDFM) Committee since 1998?

From 1999 to date there have been a total of 104 members on the Committee for the Executive Office (or OFMDFM Committee), of which 18 were female, therefore 17.3%


3. How many women (total) have been appointed as members of the Justice Committee since 1998?

There have been a total of 14 female members of the Committee for Justice since its creation in April 2010. There were 2 in the 2007-11 mandate; 3 in the 2011-2016 mandate; 3 in 2016-2017 (1 of whom was Deputy Chairperson from May 2016 to January 2017); and 6 in the current 2017-2022 mandate (1 of whom is the current Deputy Chairperson and has held this role since January 2020).


4. How many women as a percentage of total membership, have been appointed to the Justice Committee since 1998.”

From April 2010 to date there have been a total of 66 members on the Committee, of which 14 were female, therefore 21%.

The figures above refer to total numbers and percentages. However, the following points should be borne in mind:

  • Membership of Committees changes fairly regularly during a mandate, therefore there may be different levels of representation at different times;
  • Overall representation of women has changed between (due to election) and within (due to co-option) mandates, so Committee membership relative to representation in the Assembly as a whole may differ;
  • The turnover (or churn) of female Members is higher than that of male Members;
  • Membership of a Committee (descriptive representation) does not necessarily indicate attendance and participation (substantive representation).

Under section 16 of the FOIA, the Assembly Commission will always try to provide advice and assistance in relation to any request received. You may also be interested in the following:


If you feel that the information we have provided does not meet your request fully, please contact this office as soon as possible.  You have the right to request a formal review by the Assembly Commission and if you wish to do so, please write to me at the above address.

If after such an internal review you are still unhappy with the response, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF who will undertake an independent review.

The Assembly Commission may publish details of your FOI request and our official response within the organisational disclosure log. The request will be completely anonymised and you will not be identified in any way. This is to meet the requirements as laid out by in the agreed publication scheme with the Information Commissioners’ Office.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.  Please remember to quote the reference number above.

Yours sincerely