International Women's Day marked in NI

Published Saturday, 08 March 2014
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A major rally has been held in Belfast as part of a series of events to mark International Women's Day in Northern Ireland.

International Women's Day marked in NI
A major rally has been held in Belfast to mark International Women's Day (© Presseye)

Thousands of marchers walked to City Hall on Saturday, where a special reception which included songs and speeches took place.

Events have been happening across the city throughout the week in the build-up to Saturday, which is marked globally as a day to inspire and celebrate women's achievements.

International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900s, which saw a rise in women's rights movements.

Thousands of events are held all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences to craft markets and theatrical performances.

A programme of events has been organised by women's collective Reclaim the Agenda - supported by Belfast City Council's Women's Steering Group - including lectures, workshops, plays, comedy and an alternative women's pageant.

In Londonderry, a day of free film screenings is on offer at the Nerve Centre as well as a special concert and more at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin.

The Equality Commission is supporting a programme of International Women's Day events in Belfast organised by Reclaim the Agenda, as well as others taking place in Co Tyrone.

Commenting ahead of IWD, Evelyn Collins CBE, Chief Executive of the Equality Commission highlighted "persistent under-representation" of women in political and public life in the region.

At present, although women are over half of the population in Northern Ireland, just one in five of MLAs is female and only one in four councillors.

"This is despite the fact that, for the past twelve years, the law has allowed special measures to be taken by political parties to reduce inequality between the numbers of women and men chosen as candidates," Ms Collins said.

"The Equality Commission will be looking to OFMDFM's Gender Equality Strategy and seeking more focus on measurable targets and annual updates on progress across a range of issues.

"We have made recommendations to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) regarding political and public life, education for girls and women, employment and related issues such as equal pay and affordable childcare.

"A new strategy should give a new impetus to work towards equality between men and women."

© UTV News
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