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Ruane commends YouthAction success in helping marginalised young women

23 February, 2010 - by Caitríona Ruane

Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has commended local voluntary organisation YouthAction for its success in supporting and empowering marginalised young women across the north.

The Minister launched two evaluation reports in Parliament Buildings today. The reports demonstrate the achievements of YouthAction in working with women who identify themselves as other than heterosexual and with young mothers who are not active in the community or employment.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister said: “The transition into adulthood can be an exciting and challenging time. Young women who have additional issues to deal with such as becoming a young mother or discovering a sexual identity other than heterosexual, can face significant barriers to learning and achieving their aims in life.

“A sizeable proportion of these young women also come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, something which only compounds the difficulty. I am committed to tackling these inequalities of opportunity and promoting access to learning, development and wellbeing services for young women in these circumstances.

“The rights of women facing these challenges are protected in Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act, which asserts and reinforces the right to equality regardless of sexual orientation. It is important that we uphold these rights, and YouthAction is helping to achieve this.”

With funding from the Department, via the Youth Council, YouthAction delivers support programmes to help women in these situations with activities including accredited training programmes, emotional counselling and the establishment of valuable social networks.

The Minister continued: “These reports clearly show the high degree of success that YouthAction has achieved in helping young women overcome obstacles to their own self-advancement.

“These women have been supported to build their self-esteem, develop meaningful friendships and acquire useful new skills which enable them to engage in society and work towards achieving their personal life aspirations.

“I commend YouthAction for its commitment and enthusiasm in providing this support. Indeed the organisation’s inclusive and constructive methods are so successful that they can be seen as a model of good practice with the potential to influence policy in the area.”

Ms Ruane concluded: “YouthAction’s approach has helped change many lives for the better and I hope to hear of many more success stories in the future.”

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