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Women angry about poverty!! Conference vows to make it an election issue!!

Published: Monday, April 29, 2002

'Women are still at higher risk of poverty than men and it is unbelievable that the position of women in Irish society has deteriorated since 1994' stated Orla O'Connor, Policy Analyst with the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI). Ms O'Connor went on to explain that 22% of women are living below the 50% poverty line (ESRI 1998). 'Women living alone and lone parents continue to be the poorest people in Irish society' continued Ms O'Connor. 'At today's NWCI Conference Creating Change to end Women's Poverty, over 200 women from Limerick, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Tipperary met to develop strategies to campaign for an end to women's poverty' stated Ms O'Connor. 'The NWCI encouraged participants at the conference to actively lobby all election candidates on the issues which are central to women including health, childcare, transport and accommodation' added Ms O'Connor.

The women at the conference drew particular attention to the groups of women most at risk of poverty. 'Women with disabilities experience double disadvantage in accessing employment and services' declared Sabrina McKiernan from Kerry People with Disabilities Network. 'Fear of poverty is one of the primary factors preventing a woman leaving a partner who is abusing her' said Mary MacGrath of the Southill Domestic Abuse Project. 'Lack of financial resources and independence may contribute to women's feelings of powerlessness compounding their difficulties in attempting to escape a violent situation' she added.

Today's Conference was organised by the NWCI as part of its In From The Margin Project1, which is working to create change for women on poverty, anti racism and health.