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30 | 08 | 2014
History of WiP

WiP was first conceived in 1993 at Downtown Women's Centre in response to an International Women's Day Conference.  A workshop at the conference, Breaking the Silence - Women Speak Out, highlighted women's fears surrounding the political stalemate in Northern Ireland.

WiP took the initiative during the first ceasefire period to encourage discussion and dialogue between women about how they felt about entering male dominated arena of politics and public life.  Since then we have brought women together to talk about issues of concern and have created a space to explore our political difference and similarities. We continue to work with with women to enable them to move into decision making roles at any level in our society.

Who is the project for?

Initially, WiP worked with women from Greater Belfast who had been actively working for change in their local community or in the wider political community. From 2000, we have worked with women from throughout Northern Ireland and beyond to remove the barriers that make it difficult for women to participate in politics and public life.

Why?

Women make up 51% of the population, yet in Northern Ireland we are virtually invisible in public life and politics.
Women are often portrayed in limiting and stereotyped ways by the media and other institutions.
Women's concerns and interests are usually placed at the bottom of the political agenda - for example domestic violence, access to education, childcare, reproductive choice.
The narrow definition of 'politics' here means that the valuable work carried out by women in their local communities is underestimated and largely unnoticed.

For statistics on women's representation in Northern Ireland please go to our statistics page.

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