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All the latest news from WRDA!
LGB+T in the Workplace

On the 30th November WRDA attended the ICTU conference on LGB+T rights in the Workplace hosted by Unison. It was an informative and uplifting conference looking at the position of LGB+T people in the workplace which has significantly improved in recent years. However, it was disheartening to hear how far we still have to go but there are lots of ways to get involved in this journey and so many things we can all do to help.

How you feel as an LGB+T person in the workplace largely depends on where you work and who your employer is.

Many businesses are simply not engaged with LGB+T awareness and even those who are attempting engagement have a long way to go. Only 60 % of participants in the GLEN Workplace Equality Index had an Equality Strategy which specifically mentions sexual orientation or gender identity.  Belfast City Council has done considerably more than other councils around LGB+T inclusion but still 80% of staff said they had not received any training on Trans inclusion. Our councils are not the only public sector employers failing in this area, private sector companies consistently do better than public sector employers in the Workplace Equality Index. Most surprising however, was the failure of the Trade Union movement. Karen McDowell of FBU said she felt more confident coming out at work than in her union and no Trade Union has submitted themselves to be assessed by the Workplace Equality Index.

With regards to marriage equality the news is fairly bleak. Even though the vast majority of people here and a majority of MLAs support Equal Marriage it will not happen for at least the next 5 years. This is due to the DUP’s use of the Petition of Concern and tightly whipping members. It is their minds we need to change and this will be a herculean task. John O’Doherty who is the director of the Rainbow Project is keen to stress that baiting them on social media and other such tactics won’t help. We need to reach out to them as individuals through one to one meetings and personal emails because some DUP members do support Marriage Equality and the fight will be won by persuading them to stand up from within.  

It was not all doom and gloom and the speakers were eager to encourage us all to be agents of change just by doing a few simple things. 35% of people’s attitudes towards Trans people have changed for the better in the past five years and this is due to awareness raising so let’s continue this. Ask your employer to get involved in events like Pride in June or the NI LGB+T Awareness week in August, check if your employer has a policy for transitioning staff or ask them to appoint a champion for LGB+T equality. If you work in a small enterprise or a family run business this can all be so much more difficult but the impact you can have on the organisation’s culture can be much larger too.

If you need help or require more information on the support available contact HereNI on 028 9024 9452, The Rainbow Project on 028 9031 9030 or Gender Jam on 028 9099 6819. If you would like to volunteer with the Love Equality project (campaign for Equal Marriage) drop them an email at info@lovequalityni.org.
Cash for Ash is only One of Our Financial Problems
 
We all became aware this week of the ‘Cash for Ash’ Renewable Heat Incentive scandal that will cost us £400 million. The biggest financial shambles in the history of Northern Ireland investigated by Spotlight is enough to pay for the new Omagh Hospital, converting the A26 at Frosses in County Antrim into a dual carriageway, the Belfast Interchange Project and the Belfast Rapid Transit system – with £15 million left over. While this is an utter waste of money the NI Executive are planning to hand over millions of pounds out of our block grant every year back to the British Treasury by devolving and lowering Corporation Tax.

By devolving Corporation Tax, the NI Executive will be happily removing £470 million from the block grant every year, more than has just been lost through the Cash for Ash scandal. They hope to make £200 million back by setting a lower rate, which may have worked in attracting foreign direct investment but now the UK are planning to lower their tax rate also – so we will be in direct competition with places like Birmingham, Leeds and London that have not suffered 40 years of conflict like we have.

With so many unknown variables in how much actual revenue or job creation this plan might bring in given Brexit and the UK government’s own tax plans, even members of the Assembly’s finance committee were questioning the viability with comments such as, ‘Is there a danger with something like this that it could turn into such a vanity project that wrong decisions are made?’ (Jim Allister)

Despite the political scandal around the Renewable Heat Incentives scheme, the NI Executive remain committed to a course of action that has been roundly criticised as an economic policy, even by Price Waterhouse Cooper, for the devastating loss it will inflict on the public purse. Since it only takes £150 million of Executive funds to support to the entire community and voluntary sector each year, it is incredibly frustrating to women’s organisations impacted by devastating budget cuts to be told there is not enough money for essential services. We need to challenge these decisions directly and not let the NI Executive fritter away even more of our ever decreasing resources.
Christmas Wishes to our Community Facilitators

We would like to say a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to WRDA’s Community Facilitators who have delivered Breast, Cervical and Bowel screening awareness programmes  across all of the health trust areas in Northern Ireland during  mornings ,afternoons, evenings and even weekends depending on the needs of each of the groups we are working with.

Best Wishes from Liz, Isobel, Emma,, Megan and Katherine

 
Christmas: A time to think about what we want for 2017

Christmas isn't all about the materialistic presents we receive. It is important to take a step back and think about what you really want for christmas.

For some of us Christmas/New years is just another year passed where basic human rights and gender equality have not been met! We live in a society where we have 1 in 18 adults having experienced homelessness in their lifetime, 1 in 4 experiencing ill mental health, 1 domestic violence case responded to by the PSNI every 19 minutes in every day, and the list goes on!

Check out what our staff want for christmas:

Kellie O'Dowd, 'Free, safe, legal abortion'

Kellie Turtle, 'Affordable childcare'

Megan McClure Botha, 'Bi-sexual acceptance'

Katie English, 'All homeless Men and Women to have shelter and a hot meal this Christmas'

Geraldine Burns, 'All Women are given the equal opportunity to take advantage of all aspects of society
'

Get involved - What do you want for Christmas? Tweet us your responses with #whatiwantforchristmas

International Women's Day 2017

It is that time of year again when RTA start planning for their IWD programme of events.

The theme for 2017 is Peace, Solidarity & Sustenance; Keeping Body and Soul Together.

The launch will be on Wednesday 22nd February 6-9pm in the Black Box Green Room.

Please e-mail kellie.odowd@wrda.net or helen@womensinfoni.com for an events form

Deadline for your event to be included in the programme is Friday 27th January 2017. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

Woman to Woman Fund

Rosa Fund are delighted to announce the launch of the Woman to Woman fund. With grants of up to £25,000, no fewer than 100 local grassroots women’s organisations across the UK will be supported using funds from the ‘Tampon Tax.’ 

Grants are available for groups with an income of under £100,000 per year, to support a wide range of charitable work that benefits women: from building confidence and leadership skills, tackling harassment and violence, to training in financial literacy and increasing engagement in decision-making – and much more besides.

Rosa especially wants to support groups that work with disadvantaged communities or in disadvantaged areas. Grants can pay for core work, as well as mobilising volunteers, leadership development, communications and advocacy.

As well as grants, Rosa will provide additional support that women’s groups tell us they need, including mentoring, training and networking opportunities.

Who can apply?

If you meet the following requirements you can apply for a grant:

  • You are a women’s sector organisation
  • You are a charitable organisation – your organisation need not be a registered charity, but your activities must be charitable and legal
  • You are a local organisation, which is not part of a national enterprise
  • You have an annual income less than £100k or you employ less than two full-time paid members of staff
  • You have a written governing document, such as a constitution or set of rules
  • You have a governing body with at least 3 unrelated members
  • You have a UK-based bank or building society account in the name of your organisation, with at least two unrelated signatories

What size grants are available?

Grants of between £5,000 and up to and including £25,000 are available. Any grant awarded must be spent within 12 months of receipt.

For more information and to apply click here.

 

Call for Research Papers and Reports
WRDA are currently undertaking the design and development of a new website. This website will be launched in the new year enhancing users experience and flow of communication. Our new website will feature an e-library of research and reports giving our members an opportunity to promote their work and a resource for those undertaking new pieces of research.

If you have recently undertaken a piece of research or would even like to feature past research papers please contact info@wrda.net.

All submissions are very welcome!
Events

Mindfulness Self Compassion Workshop - Pre Christmas De-stress, 19th December
Christmas Markets at Dairy Farm Shopping Centre, December
Free Christmas Dinners for those Alone this Christmas, 25th December
Developing a Volunteer Strategy, 10th January
Conference: Open Data for Funding, Citizens and Services, 11th January
Economic development in Northern Ireland: key challenges and future opportunities post-Brexit, 16th January
Exploring Enterprise Programme - Start Your Business Journey, 16th January
Funding
 
Woman to Woman Fund. Deadline: Rolling
Transform Foundation. Deadline: Rolling
Belfast City Council Small Grants. Deadline: 13th January 2017

Good Relations. Deadline: 31st March 2017

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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