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67 N. Ir. Legal Q. 233 (2016)
In Need of a Fresh Start: Gender Equality in Post-GFA Northern Ireland

handle is hein.journals/nilq67 and id is 241 raw text is: 

NILQ   67(2):   233-40

   In need of a fresh start: gender equality in

                  post-GFA Northern Ireland

                                  MICHELLE ROUSE

                Transitional  Justice  Institute,  University  of  Ulster

A lmost 20 years after   the 1998 Good  Friday Agreement   (GFA),1 evidence suggests that
     decision-making in Northern  Ireland remains a relatively closed process.2 Despite the
pledge  of equal  participation of women   in public  life, women  have  remained  largely
marginalised in this regard and, in particular, remain systemically excluded from positions
of  power  and  influence.3 The  chronic  under-representation of  women in public life
coincides with the development  of an increasingly regressive legal and political discourse in
respect of women's  agency in the legislature and in the courts.4 Against this backdrop, the
number  of women   elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly  (NIA)  lags well behind other
devolved  institutions.5
    This occurs  against an  evolving normative  international and  regional framework6
which  acknowledges  that, in the absence of the active participation of women, the goals
of equality, development  and peace cannot  be achieved.7
    In that  context, this brief  evaluation       of specimen     commitments falling within
thematic  parameters  shines a spotlight on the significant failing of Northern  Ireland's
world-renowned   peace  process - to address the post-conflict needs of women.

1   The Agreement: Agreement Reached in the Multi-Party Negotiations (NIO Belfast 1998).
2   Assembly and Executive Review Committee, Report on Women in Politics and the Northern Ireland Assembl (NIA
3   Women comprise 19 per cent of chairs of public bodies and 33 per cent of public appointments in total.
    Women comprise 80 per cent of those in part-time employment. A mere 18 per cent of County Court judges
    are female and, until two appointments in 2015, there were no female members of the judiciary at more senior
    rank. There are currently no female permanent secretaries within the Northern Ireland Civil Service and at
    grade 5 and above only 33 per cent of staff are women. In education, there are no female University Vice
    Chancellors: Michael Potter, 'Who Runs Northern Ireland? A Summary of Statistics relating to Gender and
    Power' Research and Information Service Briefing Paper 79/14 (NIA 2014).
4   Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission v Department of Justice for Northern Ireland [2015] NIQB 96; NIA,
    Official Report (Hansard) Wednesday 10 February, 2016, vol 112, no 5, 77-120.
5   Women comprise 48 per cent of the Welsh Assembly and 35 per cent of the Scottish Parliament: Suzanne
    Breen, 'Record Number of Women MLAs returned to Stormont' Befast Telegraph (Belfast, 9 May 2016).
6   UNSC  Res 1325 (31 October 2000) UN DOC S/RES/1325. See also wider WPS agenda, CEDAW General
    Recommendation No 30 (18 October 2013) CEDAW/C/GC/30.
7   Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Fourth World Conference on Women, 15 September 1995
    A/conf.177/20 (1995) endorsed by GA Res 50/203, 22 December 1995.

NILQ  summer 2016

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