Sinn Féin - On Your Side

New Assembly to debate under representation of Women in political life

11 May, 2007

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Women, West Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann has said that Sinn Féin are determined to tackle the serious under representation of women in public life.

Ms McCann said:

"I am delighted that the first major debate in the new Assembly will focus on the under representation of women in public life. Women make up over 50% of our society yet are seriously under represented at all levels of the decision making process.

"It is a disgrace that only 18 out of 108 Assembly members are women. We need to get more women involved in politics and look at the reasons why more women are not being elected as public representatives.

"While Sinn Féin managed to have 8 of our 9 women candidates elected to the Assembly this is clearly not enough. We need to do much more.

"We need to encourage more women to become involved in political life and we need to ensure that candidates are in winnable seats because, for example, the wrong approach would be to run 14 women candidates but then only get 4 elected.

"We also need to take a much wider view in order to understand the problem and indeed to look at some of the other issues that affect women such as the continuing pay differential, barriers to employment, attitudes and work practices within political institutions.

"Sinn Fein will be working to establish an all-party working group to look not just at the under representation of women in public life but at all issues which have a negative impact on women." ENDS

Note to Editors

The motion on Women in Politics will be debated in the Assembly on Monday 14th May.

That this Assembly expresses serious concerns about the under representation of women in the Assembly and calls on all parties to commit themselves to addressing the situation; and for the establishment of an all-party working group to discuss these and other issues that have a negative impact on women; and further calls on an incoming Executive to fully implement and resource a comprehensive strategy to tackle the under- representation of women in political life.

[Ms M Anderson]
[Ms S Ramsey]
[Ms C Ní Chuilín]
[Ms J McCann]

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