Northern Ireland is a country still coming out of conflict. We believe that there is a danger that a post-conflict return to ‘normality’ could have adverse consequences for women: a reassertion of the public/private distinction, a reduction in civic engagement and a reassertion of patriarchy. Engagement in policy areas that deal with the legacy of the past is therefore an important part of the work of the women’s sector.
The WRDA has been involved in the process of consultation on a Bill of Rights since the first NI Human Rights Commission began to consider what should be contained in any future Bill. We have taken part in all the events organized by the women’s sector as we informed women across Northern Ireland of the process and gained from them a clear sense of the issues that they wanted a Bill of Rights to address.
Click here for the Scoping paper Women’s Sector and Bill of Rights 2007
Click here for the Women’s Ad Hoc Policy Group’s response to Bill of Rights Consultation
The Bill of Rights Forum 2007-2008
Women’s Working Group Report for the Bill of Rights Forum presented a strategic set of issues that were principle based and focused on key inequalities:
• Physical integrity and autonomy
• General equality clauses and gender equality clauses
• Equality and full participation in public life, following the GFA commitment to full and equal political participation
• Human dignity
• Health, including reproductive rights
• Sexual and domestic violence
Eames-Bradley Consultative Group on the Past
The composition of the Consultative Group on the Past, its analysis and its recommendations do not comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on ‘Women’s Peace and Security’, which calls for gender parity in all institutions concerned with conflict resolution and peace building. There are many global examples of the dangers of a gender-neutral approach to peace building. Cynthia Cockburn has described how ‘…the civil society rebuilt after war or tyranny seldom reflects women’s visions or rewards their energies…gender and class relations are usually allowed to revert to the status quo ante’.
Cohesion, Sharing and Integration Consultation
The womens sector produced a detailed response to the draft Cohesion, Sharing and Integration policy issued by the Executive in 2010. The response was written by Angela Hegarty in partnership with an ad hoc group, led by Women’s Resource and Development Agency, with funding from the Community Relations Council. Brid Ruddy facilitated the consultation events that provided much of the evidence contained in this report. Almost 100 women participated in the consultation. Newry and Mourne Ltd organised the event in Altnaveigh House, Newry; Foyle Women’s Information Network in Derry/Londonderry; WRDA and TWN in Belfast; First Steps Women’s Centre and the N.I. Rural Women’s Network in Dungannon.
*Ad Hoc Group members: Women’s Resource and Development Agency; West Belfast Partnership Board; Women into Politics; Training for Women Network; Shankill Women’s Centre; Rural Community Network.
A WRDA/Hanna’s House seminar was held on 24th February 2011 entitled; Feminism and Truth Recovery: exploring feminist perspectives on truth recovery processes. The aim of the conference was to explore feminist perspectives on truth recovery processes. This conference examined the relationship between truth recovery and societal transformation and the implications for feminism. International experience has shown the challenges of highlighting and integrating gender within transitional justice arrangements such as truth commissions. The visibility of women in current and potential truth recovery processes was explored during the seminar.
Presentations from the day are available below: