First Meeting of All-Island Women’s Forum Hosted by NWC

30th July 2021

Posted In: FYI

The National Women’s Council (NWC) held the first meeting of the All-Island Women’s Forum on Thursday (July 29th, 2021). The initiative was announced earlier this month.

Led by NWC, the Women’s Forum aims to address underrepresentation of women and further develop women’s role in peace building and civic society. Funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund, the Women’s Forum will support building sustainable North South links, provide a space for marginalised communities, and build better understanding and inter-community links.

Mrs Sabina Higgins addressed the historic first meeting of the All-Island Women’s Forum, marking the importance of the task that lays before members. The forum will sit on the last Thursday of every month for an initial one-year pilot term.

Emma DeSouza, NWC Women’s Leadership Coordinator and Chairperson of the All-Island Women’s Forum said, “The forum will encourage greater all-island collaboration within civil society organisations and identify key areas to advance women’s rights and equality on an all-island basis as well as developing the role of women in peacebuilding and civic and political life. Female peace-builders remain an underutilised resource in advancing the peace process and tackling institutionalised sectarianism, the forum will seek to act as a conduit for greater cooperation and a catalyst for the inclusion of women’s voices in these spaces.”

Orla O’Connor, NWC Director said, “Reflecting the diversity of women’s voices and experiences on our shared island, the forum will create a space for greater cross-border collaboration on key issues affecting women. The Women’s Forum will also work to address the underrepresentation of women in peacebuilding structures, particularly for those groups 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.”

Louise Lovett, NWC Chairperson said, “The first meeting of the All-Island Women’s Forum marks a historic day for the National Women’s Council, in contributing to further strengthening cooperation and highlighting shared concerns and issues for women on this island, in line with our new Strategic Plan ‘No Woman Left Behind’.

“The forum will make an invaluable contribution to the island and to civic society in building on the work of numerous National Women’s Council member groups and on the many existing ties between women’s organisations and women leaders on our shared island.”