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All the latest news from WRDA!
WRDA Comments on Ashers Case
 
WRDA welcome the Court of Appeal judgement confirming that Ashers Baking company had acted unlawfully by refusing to fulfil their contractual agreement to make a cake with a slogan supporting marriage equality.

Commenting on the judgement Kellie Turtle Women’s Sector Lobbyist said, ‘We welcome today’s judgement in the interests of a fair and equal society. The judgement clearly articulated that this is direct discrimination for which there can be no justification. I do not believe that this matter should have been brought to court. I think that Ashers bakery should have accepted the Equality Commission’s invitation to engage in mediation, where a remedy could have been found without the expense and division surrounding this court case."

Good relations worker Kellie O’Dowd commented,"Our equality legislation is there to protect people and it is good to know that businesses like Ashers are not above the law. This again re-enforces the fact that everyone is entitled to their own religious and political beliefs, but that you cannot use these to decide who you will or will not provide goods and services to."

 
WRDA Annual General Meeting & Launch of 'Why Women Only?' Research
 
WRDA members, staff, women sector delegates, and individuals gathered to celebrate with us our 33rd AGM. This years AGM focused on the theme 'Why Women Only Services?', with the launch of a new research paper which seeks to demonstrate the need and benefit of women-only services across Northern Ireland as well as providing the women’s community and voluntary sector with a tool to lobby for funding as well as to highlight the uniqueness and benefits of women-only services, not just for women but families and the community as a whole.. 

The AGM kicked of with introductions from WRDA chair Anne O'Reilly. She thanked the management committee for their commitment and hard work over a much challenging year and commended the work of the WRDA staff team in particular Director Anne McVicker.

Anne O'Reilly presented the minutes of last years AGM, audited accounts, appointment of auditors and election of new directors. She praised the work of Finance and HR manager Geraldine Burns and her commitment to the work of WRDA.

The annual report was then presented by WRDA Director Anne McVicker. She provided an overview of the report, reflecting over the past 12 months reporting back under the themes challenging, productive and reflective. Anne then launched the research report 'Why Women Only Services - and their benefits".The full report is available here and is aimed to help women lobby government departments, decision making bodies and funders for support to women only services.

Guest speaker, Annie Campbell showed her support for  Why Women Only services and said; "The good news is that the women's sector is the direct legacy of second wave feminism. Patricia McFadden says space is a gendered and politicized social resource. Women are still excluded from most spaces and that is why women only spaces are so important.

Women only services must be maintained. Feminism is well alive in this new generation. We must have  women only spaced to keep the flame of resistance alive."


We wish to thank all those who attended the AGM and our guest speaker Annie Campbell for her contribution. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our members for their support over the past 12 months. Our Annual Report 2015 is now available on our website here.

 
Lessons to be learned from Iceland

Even in Iceland, the country many experts consider the world’s leader in gender equality, the gender pay gap exists. Women employees make 14 to 18 percent less than men in Iceland a discrepancy that trade unions and women’s organisations say means women effectively work for free after 2:38 pm. On Monday 24th October, in protest of the pay gap, thousands of Icelandic women decided to work the hours they are paid for; by leaving their workplaces promptly when the clock struck 2:38pm.
 
“[Iceland] is a good place to be a woman,” says Vigdis Finnbogadottir, who in 1980 became Iceland’s president; the world’s first democratically elected woman president. However, before October 24, 1975, when 90 percent of Iceland’s women went on strike; refusing to work, cook, or even provide childcare, only nine women had ever won seats in the country’s parliament. Just five years later, Finnbogadottir was elected. By 1999, more than a third of the country’s representatives were women. And in 2000, Iceland’s government passed a landmark parental leave legislation that many credit with helping women to return to work, and their former hours, more quickly after childbirth.

Today, 90 percent of Icelandic fathers take parental leave and research has shown that they continue to be involved in housework and childcare even after the leave is over. The pay gap, however, has been slow to close. It would take 52 years before men and women were being paid equally. While explanations for the discrepancy vary, women and Icelandic leadership alike agree that the progress is too slow. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gender pay gap or any other pay gap,” said Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of the Icelandic Confederation of Labour. “It’s just unacceptable to say we’ll correct this in 50 years. That’s a lifetime.”
#WearItPink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a worldwide annual campaign involving thousands of organisations, to highlight the importance of breast awareness, education and research.

WRDA delivers Breast Screening Awareness Programmes developed to tackle the low uptake of screening invitations to women living in some areas of Northern Ireland.To celebrate this month we asked all attendees to this years AGM to wear something PINK in support of Breast Cancer Now's #WearItPink campaign.

1 in 7 women aged 50-70 who attend routine mammograms never check their breasts for signs of cancer outside these appointments. If you would like more information on our Breast,Cervical and Bowel Screening Awareness programme please contact our Training & Development Programme Worker Katherine Robertson on katherine.robertson@wrda.net. Our programmes can also be tailored for those with additional support needs by our Training and Development Outreach Worker Emma Gray, emma.gray@wrda.net.

Training and Development Outreach Worker Update

This month Training & Development Outreach Worker Emma Gray has been busy delivering the Breast, Cervical and Bowel screening awareness programme to a group of registered blind women in the NHSCT. Women with severe visual impairment have difficulty accessing information, ie leaflets or TV advertisements so are at risk of marginalization in healthcare provision. Emma worked hard in adapting our materials to suit the needs of the group.

The group feedback said: " Emma provided verbal information on Cervical, Bowel and Breast screening and explained to the women how a smear test, mammogram and FOB kit is carried out and the importance of attending screening. While some of the women had received smear tests they did not know which instruments were used and why and were amazed when they had the opportunity to handle a speculum.  She gave them the opportunity to ask questions in a safe and relaxed environment.

The sessions also encouraged one member of the group to stop smoking. Once again thanks to you and  WRDA for the very valuable work you do in promoting awareness with women who have additional support needs. I received the information in large print and this will be disseminated to the group members."

 
If you work with groups with additional support needs please contact Emma Gray on emma.gray@wrda.net. Our programmes can be tailored to suit your needs.
Reclaim the Agenda are hosting a major Women’s Conference to explore the cuts to funding and the impact on service delivery to women and children in local communities. The conference will then plan how we as a sector challenge these decisions and the broader austerity agenda.
 
WHEN? 15th November 2016
WHERE? Riddle Hall, 185 Stranmillis Road, Belfast , BT9 5EE

We want participants to come along to share their experiences of the cuts and to generate 3 key asks from the conference that RTA will present at an event following the conference to government departments, decision makers & funders. Childcare and travel will be paid for and we ask that those attending can stay for the whole event which will commence at 9.00am and finish at 4.00pm.

We are really excited by the opportunity to gather as a sector to review and reflect on the last few years of biting cuts to our budgets while demand for our services continues to increase. It is also a chance to generate a robust plan to challenge these decisions and mobilise into a force to be reckoned with.

‘Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the World. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has’ - Margaret Mead - Women’s Rights Activist

 
Book your tickets today by clicking here.

Events
 

A focus on the new 11 councils, 28th October 2016
Brexit: What's next?, 31st October 2016
Belfast, a hundred years on from 1916. How do we make a fresh start?, 3rd November 2016
Re-imagining Belfast; sharing the peace walls, 8th & 9th November 2016
Women at the Cutting Edge: The impact of Austerity on the Women’s Sector and the Way Forward, 
15th November 2016

For more events, click here.

Funding

BCPP Level 1 & 2 Funding. Deadline: 17th November
Guardian Charity Awards 2016. Deadline: Rolling
Benevolent Fund, Charitable Grants. Deadline: 30th November 2016
Media Grant Scheme. Deadline: 4th November 2016

And finally...


Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, @WRDA_team. We'd love to connect with you there! You can also find us on Facebook or visit our website, which covers all the latest women's news.
 
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