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Justice Minister Naomi Long and Minister of Justice Heather Humphreys join All-island Women’s Forum

Published: Thursday, September 30, 2021

Ministers for Justice, Heather Humphreys and Naomi Long, joined the All-island Women's Forum today (Thursday, 30th September) for a partially livestreamed session to discuss threats to security for women in public life. 

The forum heard statements from those who have experienced threats to safety while operating in political spaces as well as from those who have worked in the area of improving women’s security.

Other speakers included: Cllr Hazel Chu, Cllr Sorcha Eastwood, Eve McDowell, Stalking Ireland, Elaine Crory, Women’s Resource and Development Agency, Rachel Powell, Women’s Resource and Development Agency, Dr Salome Mbugua, Head of Operations and Strategy, AkiDwA, Dr Claire McGing, Gender and Politics Researcher.

NWC’s Women in Leadership Coordinator and Chair of the All-island Women’s Forum, Emma DeSouza said,

“Both the Good Friday Agreement and UN Security Council 1325 include commitments to women’s fair and equal right to political participation, and yet women experience persistent threats to their personal safety and security across the political spectrum. The All-island Women’s Forum stands in solidarity with all women who experience gender-based abuse and harassment and is ambitious in seeking substantial reforms that enable women to take their rightful place as leaders in our society.”

Rachel Powell, Women’s Resource and Development Agency said;

“Over 23 years on, you would like to think the commitment in the Good Friday Agreement on women’s participation was embedded within our political structures and society, but sadly little progress has been made.”
She continued, “The Istanbul Convention has not been ratified, we have no VAWG strategy, no implementation of the vast majority of CEDAW recommendations and women’s organisations are losing funding left, right and centre for crucial good relations and peacebuilding work.”

Eve McDowell, Stalking Ireland said,

“Stalking is not considered an offence in Irish legislation. Criminalising stalking is just the first step. It has been criminalised in our neighbouring districts for over a decade. In Scotland when a specific stalking offence was introduced, there was a tripling in reporting. Garda funding and training is allocated to offences on the basis of the frequency of reporting. Because stalking is not named as a criminal offence no resources have been allocated to it, so the cycle has continued.”

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For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, NWC, Tel. 085 858 9104.