ONeill launches Manifesto for Rural Women

23 September 2015

Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has launched NI Rural Women’s Network (NIRWN) ‘Manifesto for Rural Women.’

The ‘Manifesto for Rural Women’ was designed by women, for women to ensure rural women’s voices are heard. It contains all the information rural women need to challenge decision makers and demand more on pertinent everyday issues affecting rural women, such as; caring responsibilities, transport, rural development, education and training, poverty and the economy and social isolation, health and wellbeing.

Speaking at the launch event, Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “As Minister for Rural Development I warmly welcome the launch of NIRWN’s Rural Women’s Manifesto and commend the organisation for its hard work in undertaking the significant research necessary for developing this valuable document.

“As a rural woman myself I understand the many issues that rural women face and I will ensure that my Department continues to place equality and good relations considerations firmly at the centre of our decision-making processes, and especially on tackling gender inequalities.

“The Manifesto raises a number of important issues that link closely with the work of my Department and the collaboration we undertake with other departments too, including rural transport, accessible rural childcare, the RDP and helping to alleviate poverty and social isolation in our rural communities.”

Louise Coyle, NIRWN Policy Officer said: “Research clearly indicates that rural women are under increasing pressure from the economic climate. Historic underfunding of rural women’s activities and underinvestment in rural areas; (c 1.3% of the direct allocation going to rural women’s groups versus urban groups who had the balancing 98.7%)[1] ; centralisation of service support; lack of infrastructure, and the burden of caring responsibilities is leaving rural women experiencing more poverty and social isolation than ever before.”

Councillor Linda Dillon, Chair of Mid Ulster Council said: “Mid Ulster Council covers a large rural area from Fivemiletown to Bellaghy so it is extremely important that the Council supports our rural communities and in particular, rural women. Rural women often experience greater social isolation and are the first to feel the impact of austerity.”

[1] Review of Government Funding for Women’s Groups and Organisations, 2012

Read the Manifesto HERE