The Women’s Policy Group NI has been honoured with the Belfast Pride Award 2023 for Working in Partnership. We are thrilled to have received this Award, and while sharing the good news with our members, felt that this is the ideal moment to speak about what Pride means for us at WRDA.
To set the scene, the Women’s Policy Group (WPG) is more than just WRDA, but it is chaired by and organised by the Women’s Sector Lobbyist and the Policy Assistant, both of whom work at WRDA; this is why all WPG publications appear on WRDA’s website. The WPG is a platform for women working in policy and advocacy roles in different organisations to share their work and speak with a collective voice on key issues. It is made up of women from trade unions, grassroots women’s organisations, women’s networks, feminist campaigning organisations, LGBT+ organisations, support service providers, human rights and equality organisations and individuals.
In practice, much of our work is shared; from the Feminist Recovery Plan to our Women’s Manifestos, and from our consultation responses to our ground-breaking research on Women’s experiences of VAWG in Northern Ireland. For this reason, this award does not just belong to WRDA, it belongs collectively to the sector in which we are so proud to play a vital role.
The Award itself recognises the work that the WPG does in working alongside LGBTQI+ organisations and communities, and this is something we have worked towards for a long time, so it is particularly gratifying to see it recognised. Credit for moving WRDA along this path belongs also to past Lobbyists and Directors, as well as to our current Director and staff. We are proud to have a strong trans-inclusive position – on paper since 2019, but in practice since long before that – and to operate inclusively in all aspects of our work.
Our organisation is explicitly feminist in our aims and in our approaches to the work that we do, and this is why this award means so much to us. Feminism is a liberation philosophy, focused above all on the liberation of all women and girls, regardless of the nature of the barriers that they face. Central to this is the application of an intersectional lens and a respect for human rights, and an understanding that rights are not like pie; more for one person does not mean less for everyone else. To extend the metaphor, a human rights framing does not allow us to rest on our laurels because we have some pie and others have less, or none. We all deserve liberation, and we owe it to ourselves and to others to build relationships of solidarity with all other liberation movements, especially where our needs intersect.
This coming Saturday 29th July, Belfast will see its biggest Pride Parade yet, and WRDA will be there, marching with the feminist bloc. We are proud to be a part of a very special movement.