Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said that we must be more proactive in attaining funding from Europe under the PEACE Funding, especially for projects that promote equality.
Speaking today at the Women Delivering Social Change conference Ms. Anderson said,
"A total of EUR 150 million could be allocated for the PEACE Programme and if secured it needs to have a gender measure to support the special needs of women and girls during post-conflict reconstruction.
“Women played an important part in the Peace Process and there are still many issues relating solely to women during the conflict that have to be resolved.
“Today women continue to play a major role in the post conflict situation but we need to ensure that funding is available if they are fulfil their potential of helping transform our communities.
“This conference today is an opportunity to send the message out that gender equality is a Human Rights issue and it should not be pushed down the pipe as an issue to be resolved "later".
“It is also an opportunity to let our voices be heard that the proposals to amalgamate the three programmes of gender equality and anti-discrimination sections of the PROGRESS programme, the Daphne III programme to combat violence against women, children and young people, and the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme under one umbrella will disadvantage the campaign for real equality for women.
“Women have borne the brunt of the economic recession as more women were exposed to job insecurity, to sacking and to higher levels of poverty and were less covered by systems of social security.
“Since the debt crisis these situations have deteriorated and men and women do not have an equal place in the labour market because of gender discriminatory practices.
“The elimination of gender inequality is therefore a question of both social justice and economic necessity.
“This conference is my way of connecting with you to hear from you about the impact of decisions taken possibly thousands of miles away in the EU Parliament and to listen to your ideas about how we get more women involved and supported in political life and leadership.
“It is about empowering people to take equality and make it relevant in all our lives and ensuring that we access the support from Peace IV in order to make that happen today.”