Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin leading by example on women's rights - Caitriona Ruane

28 April, 2005

Sinn Féin MLA for South Down and Human Rights spokesperson Caitriona Ruane has today said that "Sinn Féin is committed to combating gender inequality within Irish society". Ms Ruane made her comments after her party launched a Women's mini-manifesto today in Belfast City Centre.

Speaking in Belfast Ms Ruane said:

"The principle of equality is the guiding principle that steers Sinn Féin policies, our party structures and the campaigns in which we are involved. Whether in government in the Six Counties, in the Assembly, in Leinster House and in local government, Sinn Féin has led by example.

"Our message is clear, we want to build an Ireland of equals, and we recognise the vital need for gender balance, gender proofing and gender equality in the decision making process. Irish women are not fully represented in either national politics or in local government decision-making structures, Women make up 51% of the Irish population yet hold 13% of seats in the Dáil and 16.6% of seats in the Assembly.

"Women continue to suffer disproportionately in the workplace through unequal pay with their male counterparts, are more likely to fall into the poverty trap, suffer as a result of physical, sexual and psychological abuse and many rural women continue to be disadvantaged resulting from a lack of services and a sense of isolation.

"Sinn Féin is committed to combating gender inequality within Irish society. It is against the backdrop of cuts and the downgrading of the Women's Sector that we launch this document. We are campaigning for mainstream funding for women's groups in the community sector and for those frontline organisations providing services for women.

"These inequalities are an indictment of our society. They are unacceptable and Sinn Féin intends to work both within our party and at local, national and European levels to make the necessary changes. We are in the business of changing and challenging all of this and are well placed to bring about real change" ENDS

Sinn Féin's priorities

Sinn Féin will campaign for:

. Introduction of a system of paid parental leave

. Unpaid caring work to be legally acknowledged, measured and paid for in economic terms

. A renewed focus on preventative healthcare and significant increase in resources for health and social services

. Government funded childcare facilities and government subsidies for employers wishing to provide facilities on site

. Mainstream funding for all frontline and community services which support women and children affected by violence

. All-Ireland initiatives to eliminate gender differentiation and promote the development of a wider range of educational and career choices for girls and young women

. Rights based guidelines for pension policy to reflect the differential labour market position of women

. The development of a local services and information infrastructure to cater for the health, welfare and social needs of rural communities

. Targets and timescales to be set for achieving equality of representation for women in all aspects of public and political life

. Equality of outcome in employment, education and training

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