All the latest news from WRDA!
Focus on Health Inequalities

Women with additional needs are slipping through the net and missing out on life saving cancer checks. The Women's Resource and Development Agency work with women living with a mental or physical disability, as well as women from ethnic minority groups.

Research by the Disability Rights Commission found that disabled women are four times more likely to die from a treatable illness than other patients and 58 times more likely to die before the age of 50.

Liz Curran, Training and Development Operations Manager said: "Many women are falling through the net because they aren't getting enough information about the importance of screening and also what is available to them."

"Often women are intimidated by the screening process, those with a learning diability may have difficulty understanding the information given to them by their doctors, and others may simply be frightened of what might happen."

"What WRDA is trying to do is dispel the myths, raise awareness and provide an opportunity for discussion and shared experience among women. If only one woman's life is saved as a result of this programme it will have been successful"

WRDA has worked with hundreds of women in disadvantaged areas over the past. This three session programme aims to raise awareness of the importance of breast, bowel and cervical screening, by providing women with information that will encourage them to avail of the screening services on offer and help address any fears surrounding screening.

WRDA's goal is to advance women's equality and participation in society by working to bring about social, political and economic change for women.

If you require any more information on the programme contact Emma Gray, Training and Development Outreach Worker, on T: 02890230212 or E:

The Women’s Resource and Development Agency is currently providing a range of training programmes across Northern Ireland.  The Bowel Screening Awareness Training Programme is a 2 hour session and is available to individuals and organisations working with local community or men’s groups across Northern Ireland. There is no cost to groups.
The session covers:

Bowel Cancer Screening awareness including the signs and symptoms to look out for and how to take the screening test.

Quotes from previous participants on the Programme:
  •  “The screening instructions given made it much easier to understand what to do.  I will complete it the next time I receive one”
  • “The risks and symptoms are important to know”
  • “ It made an embarrassing subject more comfortable to talk about”
  • “I didn’t understand what to do in the past so didn’t use the screening kit but now I understand the  importance of completing it, now how to do it and understand why I will most definitely complete it in the future"
  • “I will encourage family members to use it”
  • “The importance of prevention and early detection to improve survival rates.”
WRDA programmes are delivered by experienced trainers qualified to Level 3 in Training and Development through WRDA’s Community Facilitators Training Programme.
If you are in contact or associated with a local community, women’s or men’s group that would benefit from this training feel free to get in touch with Katherine Robertson by calling 028 90230212 or by emailing for further details.

Abortion pills the BBC and the Supreme Court

To WRDA members it will come as no surprise that last week the BBC did a hatchet job on a story about abortion pills in Northern Ireland, on the back of yet another woman being reported to the police for obtaining the pills to procure an abortion after she sought medical help.

The safety of the Early Medical Abortion Pills (EMA) was misrepresented and indeed the report ultimately amounted to scaremongering by the BBC, which has the potential to put more women's lives at risk, rather than helping anyone.

The reporter ordered pills online from a 'dubious' site - had them tested and they proved to be what they said they were (Mifepristone and Misoprostol). These drugs are cited by the World Health Organisation as safer than Aspirin and Viagra.

Alliance for Choice had sent a press release with some very clear research on these pills, particularly relating to women in Northern Ireland, only a week before. It included a study of over 5600 women who procured the pills to obtain an abortion. 98% said they were so satisfied with the treatment they would recommend it to a friend.

The BBC piece which was picked up nationally reported  “There are now warnings that women are putting their health at risk by taking abortion pills bought online. The drugs cause blood loss and some people are likely to need treatment if they use them.”

The side effect of bleeding is actually what the drugs are designed to do - an induced miscarriage is impossible without losing blood, but the risk of needing a blood transfusion is RARE - less than 0.2%. Watching a male reporter speak to a male researcher about female blood loss was beyond ironic for women who deal with this regularly through menstruation, birth, miscarriage and abortion.

Women in NI who have no access to funds/papers to travel have these pills as their only option, and paying £70 as opposed to £1,000 and having to travel is a ‘no brainer.’

The financial issue last week was again put under the spotlight as two Northern Irish women were taking their case to the UK Supreme Court to argue as UK citizens the woman should have been able to access abortion services on the NHS like other UK tax payers.

Read more here. (Press Release by Alliance for Choice)
Community Facilitator Programme Kicks off to Great Start

WRDA are excited to be starting two new Community Facilitator programmes in both the Carrick and Lurgan areas. The programme will support WRDA’s work in developing Leadership and strengthen our networking capabilities in these area. The 2016/7 programmes will be delivered in Carrickfergus Community Forum and YMCA Lurgan. – we are looking forward to working with participants.
Where are Women in the Programme for Government Consultation?

This short briefing is an initial summary of all the specific references to women and gender inequality contained in the Programme for Government Consultation. It is intended to provide a ‘first glance’ across the issues for women that the document addresses. This is not a response to the Consultation by WRDA but simply an aid to others working in the area of gender policy or those with an interest in women and policy in Northern Ireland. I welcome feedback and comments about any inaccuracies or omissions to

As a result of this report we will be hosting a consultation event to give you the opportunity to have your say!

1st December 2016, 10am-12pm
Where? WRDA offices, 6 Mount Charles, Belfast, BT7 1NZ

To register click here.

The eight week consultation closes on December 23, 2016.

Join us and help us respond as a united sector!

October Assembly Update

Women’s Sector Assembly Update is an exciting free service offering women’s groups and organisations regular email updates on Assembly business in Stormont. The monthly update focuses particularly on Assembly discussions, Assembly committee business and Assembly questions and answers that are relevant to Gender Equality issues and to the wider women’s sector generally.  Read October Assembly update here.
WRDA's research will be launched next Tuesday at RTA's 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

Participants are invited 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.


Women at the Cutting Edge: The impact of Austerity on the Women’s Sector and the Way Forward, 15th November 2016
Contact Suicide Prevention. What Works? Conference, 17th November 2016
Launch of Be Seen Be Heard, 18th November 2016
Looking Back, Moving Forward History Exhibition, 18th November 2016
Expecting Equality - 40 years on, 29th November 2016
Programme for Government Consultation Event, 1st December 2016

For more events, click here.


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