The National Women’s Council (NWC) today announced the All-Island Women’s Forum participants, consisting of 28 members, 14 from Northern Ireland and 14 from the South.
Led by the National Women’s Council (NWC), The Women’s Forum aims to address underrepresentation of women and further develop women’s role in peacebuilding and civic society. Funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund, the Women’s Forum will also support building sustainable North South links, provide a space for marginalised communities, and build better understanding and inter-community links.
Reflecting the diversity of society on this island was central in the selection process. NWC has sought representation from groups all-too-often left out of decision-making spaces including PUL, LGBTI+, women from minority ethnic groups, Traveller women, disabled women, rural women and young women. We have sought to expand our understanding of peacebuilding and reconciliation structures with the inclusion of representatives from Sport and the Arts.
Orla O’Connor, NWC Director said,
“The forum will provide a unique opportunity to address women’s underrepresentation in peacebuilding structures and will ensure that women’s voices are heard in all their diversity. In creating a space for women to come together, the forum will facilitate collaboration on key issues affecting women and will work to provide a stronger voice on these common issues and concerns for women on our shared island.”
Emma DeSouza, Women’s Leadership Coordinator, NWC and Chairperson of the All-Island Women’s Forum said,
“There is empirical data to support the benefit of women’s voices in peacebuilding. Evidence demonstrates that women in peace processes are more likely to focus on reconciliation, economic development, and transitional justice – all critical elements of a sustained peace. On this island many of the barriers that women face know no border. The Good Friday Agreement includes a commitment to North-South equivalence on rights as well as the full participation of women in public and political life. The women’s forum will seek to build and embed these commitments on the island of Ireland, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325.”
Emma DeSouza concluded,
“The appetite for meaningful structures to provide greater engagement and understanding on this island is evident from the overwhelming interest we have received in the formation of this forum.”