Assembly Speaker Launches ‘Women Parliamentarians of Northern Ireland’ Exhibition

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 04 March 2022

Reference: 03/21/22

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey MLA, has today launched an exhibition highlighting the role of the women who have been elected to the local political and parliamentary institutions connected to Parliament Buildings.

The exhibition, which is both online and in the Great Hall in Parliament Buildings was an initiative agreed as one of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission’s programme of centenary events.

Speaker Alex Maskey said: “I am delighted to launch this exhibition which charts the contribution of women in the political institutions connected to Parliament Buildings over the years.  When the Assembly Commission agreed its programme of centenary events last year, the contribution of women was something they were particularly keen to recognise.

“It was only in 1918, with the passing of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, that women were first able to run for office. In all of the local parliamentary institutions since 1921, we have seen a steady and increasing stream of highly motivated and dedicated women taking their place in leadership roles, serving as Ministers, Speaker and Committee chairs.

“Historically, we have had the lowest proportion of female representation of the devolved institutions. We are getting better—in 2022, women accounted for 37% of the 90 Assembly seats, compared to 13% elected in 1998.

The online exhibition provides an overview of all the women who have been elected since 1918 and looks in some depth at those who became Senators, Ministers, party leaders and Speakers.

Speaker Maskey concluded: “It is both appropriate and important that we look back to where we were and see how far we have come.  I think people will enjoy the exhibition and find it interesting to recall the many significant female characters who have left their mark on our politics over the years.”

The exhibition in the Great Hall of Parliament Buildings will be up for three weeks and the online exhibition can be found on the Assembly website.



Notes to Editors:

On 16 March 2021, Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey MLA unveiled the official Assembly events that would mark the centenaries of the creation of Northern Ireland/partition and the first sitting of the old Northern Ireland Parliament with agreement from the Assembly Commission.

The exhibition on 100 years of women members was described below.

A new exhibition will be produced highlighting all of the women who served as members (110 in total), of the local parliamentary and political institutions over the last 100 years (including the Northern Ireland Parliament from 1921, the 1973 Assembly, the 1975 Constitutional Convention, the 1982 Assembly, the 1996 Northern Ireland Forum for Political Dialogue, and the Northern Ireland Assembly from 1998)...

For any media queries, please contact:

The Communications Office

Northern Ireland Assembly


Tel: 02890 521137

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