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Sinn Féin's National Women's Conference to be held in Newry

9 February, 2005

Sinn Féin is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and special attention is being paid to the contribution women have made to the struggle in the last century. 'Unfinished Revolution - from Beijing to Newry', is the title of the National Women's Conference, which is scheduled to take place on the 12th of February in the Canal Court Hotel in Newry. Saturday's event in Newry marks the 10th anniversary of the Beijing Fourth World Annual Conference and will be opened by Sinn Féin's Party President Gerry Adams MP who will launch a varied programme of events.

The impressive list of guest speakers includes Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini International head of the African National Congress, Dr Joanna McMinn (National Women's Conference of Ireland), Noirin Clancy (Women's Human Rights Project), Fianna Fail Senator Mary O'Rourke, Rosaleen McDonnagh (Travellers Rights Association) and Felenkas Uca MEP a Kurdish woman living in Germany and one of the youngest people to be elected to serve in the European Parliament.

Caitriona Ruane MLA, Sinn Fein's spokesperson on Human Rights, Equality and Women spoke of the significance of the event. "Too often our female comrades are forgotten, written out of history or ignored. Sinn Fein is determined to bring these women to the fore of people's minds over the next 12 months, starting with the specially convened national women's conference in Newry.

"We're going to be celebrating women's roles in the struggle and looking at the contribution they continue to make every day. This event is an opportunity for women from all over Ireland to get together and discuss the different aspects of women's involvement in politics, from their pathway into government, to their participation in the disability sector and the are a of human rights. We'll also talk about the hardships still faced by lone parents, or the difficulties faced by women trying to break through the 'glass ceiling' in their various careers."

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald said: "Ten years ago the Beijing Declaration set out a number of objectives to advance the goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere. It made a commitment to address the constraints and obstacles that prevent the advancement and empowerment of women all over the world. And whilst some progress has been made many of the pledges made by Governments at the conference, including the British and Irish administrations who at the time committed themselves to ensuring greater gender equality, remain unfulfilled. "One of the more visible areas of inequality is the political arena. Women are still not fully represented in either national politics or in local government.

The election last June of Barbrie de Brún and myself to the European Parliament was a significant achievement but clearly there is much more work to be done. We are committed to continuing to work in this area until we achieve full gender parity. Sinn Féin believes that we cannot have a just and free society without equality for women. Our manifesto is simple. It demands equality for women in every area of their lives and it states the most obvious means to achieve it. Building an Ireland of Equals is one of Sinn Féin's core objectives, and as part of that we will continue to campaign for absolute equality for women." ENDS

Note to Editors Contact Catríona Ruane on 00353 86 8311311 or Colum Delaney, for Mary Lou McDonald, 07712 044282 to arrange interviews. Contact Colum Delaney for interviews at the event.

Unfinished Revolution - from Beijing to Newry

12th of February in the Canal Court Hotel in Newry 10.00 - 10.45 AM Conference Registration 11.00 AM Conference Opening Gerry Adams MP

11.10 AM Opening Plenary - The Beijing Platform Ten Years On Miller Suite Dr Joanna McMinn (National Women's Council of Ireland) Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini (African National Congress) Noirin Clancy (Women's Human Rights Project) Caitriona Ruane MLA 12.30 PM Lunch 14.00 PM


A. Women's Pathways into Politics Clanrye Suite Michelle Gildernew MP Senator Mary O'Rourke (Fianna Fail) Felenkas Uca MEP Rosaleen McDonagh (Travellers Rights Activist) Roseanna Flynn (Residents against Racism) Claire Hackett (Falls Community Council)

B. Rights Based Citizenship Savoy Suite Bairbre de Brun MEP Maggie Beirne (Committee on The Administration of Justice) Mary Keogh (Forum of People with Disabilities) Mamo McDonald (Campaigner for Older Women's Rights) Frances Byrne (OPEN) Paddy Kelly (Children's Law Centre)

C. Republican Women working for Irish unity Miller Suite Mary Nellis Dr Margaret Ward (Author and Historian) Geraldine Gildernew Martina Anderson Olive Sloane Cllr. Toireas Ni Fhearaiosa

15.30 PM Closing Address Mary Lou McDonald MEP

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