Women were disproportionately impacted by the austerity policies following the financial crash. Women were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and are now being disproportionately impacted by the cost of living crisis.
Women in Northern Ireland deserve to have functioning democratic political institutions with elected officials who are committed to tackling the issues they face on a daily basis. Women deserve to have a government in place that cares about tackling gender inequality in our society.
Northern Ireland continues to lag behind the rest of the United Kingdom (U.K.) on key gender equality issues. For example, we still don’t have the full commissioning of abortion services promised in the 2020 regulations and we still don’t have a violence against women and girls (VAWG) strategy or a childcare strategy.
We continue to see the perpetuation of the gender pay gap and gender segregated labour markets. We are still the only part of the U.K. without a dedicated mother and baby unit.
Northern Ireland is currently failing women. The longer we are stuck in this perpetual cycle of political crises, the longer we halt progress on gender equality.
We need an Executive to provide leadership to Departments that are delivering key public services. We need Ministers in place to take Departmental decisions affecting the lives of people in Northern Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland need a government that delivers for them.
The U.K. prides itself on being a torch bearer of democracy on the global stage, and yet, within its very jurisdiction, it has a state that is continuously without devolved government and democratic representation.
The people of Northern Ireland went to the ballot boxes and voted for who they wanted to represent them in government. It is unacceptable that they continue to be deprived of a government, after just coming out of a period with no government between 2017-2020.
Eradicating gender inequality in Northern Ireland requires having a government that can lead and act on tackling key gender equality issues.
The Executive Office is responsible for the development and implementation of the Northern Ireland VAWG strategy. With no Ministers in place, progress on this Strategy is under threat, along with many other pieces of important work on gender equality that are ongoing.
Women in Northern Ireland deserve to have a functioning government and they need it now, more than ever. It’s time for our politicians to get back to work and start delivering for women who are facing the brunt of the cost of living crisis and whose suffering will be exacerbated as the winter months roll on.
By: WRDA Policy Staff