The Women’s Resource and Development Agency welcomes many of the commitments outlined in the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ draft agreement. We are encouraged to see a commitment to deliver on several areas relating to women’s rights. This includes a commitments to deliver equality-based strategies including a childcare strategy, anti-poverty strategy, gender strategy, disability strategy, sexual orientation strategy and more. It is also encouraging to see commitments to address the Gillen Review, to increase funded cycles of IVF treatment, and to extend Welfare Reform mitigations beyond March 2020.
However, there are still many gaps in legislation, strategies and funding related to women in Northern Ireland that needs to be addressed. This includes, but is not limited to, domestic violence and coercive control legislation that is fit for purpose; tackling gender pay gaps and discrimination; scrapping the Universal Credit Two-Child Limit; addressing the historic underinvestment in rural women; rectifying the under-representation of women in politics, public life and decision-making; tackling the rise of misogyny as a hate crime, particularly towards trans women, BME women and disabled women; standardising RSE and tackling rape culture; fully supporting and financing perinatal mental health services; mitigating against the impact of Brexit on women and much more.
For three years, the above gaps in legislation alongside inadequate funding provisions and absent, insufficient or outdated strategies have negatively impacted the lives of women in Northern Ireland. As a regional women’s organisation, we look forward with the hope of having meaningful engagement with all political parties and being able to effectively lobby on behalf of the interests of women in Northern Ireland.
- ENDS –