All the latest news from WRDA!
WRDA Hustings Event
On Thursday 21st of April assembly election candidates gathered at WRDA headquarters. Each political party and independent candidate was invited to attend with a great turn out from Alliance, People Before Profit, UUP, SDLP, LPNI and Green Party. 

The event was chaired by Dawn Purvis who gave each of the candidates three minutes to give the audience an overview of their party's manifesto and what they stand for.

After a strict three minutes the floor was then opened to questions which created great debate and discussions around issues affecting women in NI.

Issues such as fertility treatment, domestic abuse and domestic violence, abortion, sex work, suicide, childcare and community based education for women were all raised and answered by each panel member.

The panel gave the audience a great insight into how they were going to stand up for women's issues in the upcoming assembly term.

Let's hope they weren't all empty promises! Remember if you want to make a difference, have your say and vote next Thursday at your local polling station. For more information on voting click here.
WRDA Respond to Department of Justice Consultation on Domestic Abuse Offence & Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme
After consulting with our members, Women's Sector Lobbyist took the opportunity to respond to the consultation on Domestic Abuse Offence & Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. WRDA fully supports the response made by the Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland, particularly their evidence base which has been derived from consultation with local Women’s Aid groups. To read the full response click here.

We also wish to thank everyone who participated in our workshop on March 24th. 
Advocacy Works: changing NI attitudes on abortion
As part of Amnesty International’s season of seminars on abortion reform Dawn Purvis gave a talk entitled ‘Advocacy by Doing’ at Queens University on the 26th of April. Dawn’s talk demonstrated how, although we have a long way to go, advocacy is changing attitudes on abortion in Northern Ireland.
Grassroots activism was directly responsible for the opening of the first abortion provider in the Island of Ireland. Marie Stopes opened a clinic in Belfast in October 2012 after lobbying by NI activists and despite fierce opposition from Stormont.
Following the opening of the clinic Edwin Poots published draft guidelines in April 2013 which caused clinicians to stop terminating pregnancies with a fatal foetal abnormality (FFA). Sarah Ewart went public with her case after she was denied an abortion because of these guidelines. Her campaign changed the kind of language MLA’s used to discuss abortion with less emotive, more moderate language being used. Once again advocacy was having a real impact, before Marie Stopes opened only two MLAs were openly pro-choice but after the opening of the clinic and Sarah Ewart’s campaign around FFA 40 MLAs out of 108 voted in favour of abortion reform in 2013.
Dawn’s talk demonstrated that advocacy by ordinary women is changing attitudes to abortion in Northern Ireland. If we keep reproductive rights on the agenda by raising the issue on the doors, at hustings events and ultimately at the polls we will succeed because advocacy works.

To read more click here.
Women Speak Out on Community Planning Report Launch
On Wednesday 27th of April we launched our Women Speak Out on Community Planning report. The event was held at Belfast City Hall and sponsored by Belfast's Lord Mayor, Councillor Arder Carson.

With the re-structuring of local government, councils now have the new statutory duty of community planning. Community Planning aims to improve the effectiveness of public services in meeting people's needs, to support the development of local communities and to improve the quality of life for all. Therefore, it was important to us that women are not only aware of this new duty but that they are fully involved.

WRDA Women's Sector Lobbyist held a number of workshops across Northern Ireland to engage with local women and listen to their main concerns.

The research was then collated into a report highlighting the three key themes that emerged from the findings. The full report is available here.

The launch was a great success with a great turnout from local community groups, organisations and individual women and men interested in the process of Community Planning. 

For the full story click here.
Women's Sector Lobbyist Undertaking Research

WRDA Women's Sector Lobbyist is currently undertaking research as part of her Master's degree at University of Ulster.

The purpose of the research is to understand the extent of budget decisions/cuts to women’s community and voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland.

The aim of the research is to assess:

(a) Where there has been a reduction in funding evidenced by informants, the reasons for this, what services have been reduced and what this means for organisations, women and communities.

(b)The extent to which cuts in funding have impacted on a range of women’s organisations, groups and service users.

(c) What actions have women’s organisations and groups taken to mitigate the effects of any changes to service provision.

Click here to complete the survey.

The results of the survey will be published as part of Ellen's Masters. While the survey is anonymous there is an option to provide your contact details if you wish to take part in a follow up more in-depth interview. If you have any questions please get in touch by emailing:

Member's Area
WRDA offer member organisations a wide range of benefits one being the opportunity to publicise your work/events in our fortnightly E-Zines.
Family Support Project at HERe NI
HERe NI provides a dedicated same-sex family support project for lesbian and bi-sexual women and their families. HERe NI were awarded funding from the BIG Lottery in June 2015 in partnership with The Rainbow Project and were able to employ family support workers to work with the growing number of same-sex families.

What can the project offer?
  • Same-sex family group meet ups in Belfast and Newry
  • Same-sex family group outings/events
  • Parent’s workshops on a variety of relevant issues
  • One-to-one support for parents and/or families in the family home or in the LGBT Centre
  • Information and advice
  • A closed Facebook page for information sharing and peer support 
If you are interested in joining a group or for more information please contact Gráinne Gibson on 02890 249452, email

a place for lesbian and bisexual women


Economic Inequality and Distributional Analysis Research Launch, 4th May 2016
Challenges and Choices- A Woman's Guide to the 21st Century, 7th May - 11th June 2016
Building the Belfast Agenda, 10th May 2016
Charity Trustee Conference – Promoting good financial governance, 11th May 2016
EU Funding in 2016 for Human Rights Organisations, 12th May 2016

For more events, click here.


Big Lottery Fund - People and Communities Fund. Deadline: Rolling.
EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation 2014-2020. Deadline: Rolling
Cultural Diversity Grant. Deadline: 28th November 2016
Northern Ireland Development Fund. Deadline: 29th May 2016
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Funding 2016/17. Deadline: 27th May 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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