Students make their pledges, alongside Senator Ivana Bacik, to support gender equality at our Young Female Leaders Academy.
Congratulations on making our Young Female Leaders Academy such a huge success! There were over 100 participants at the event including MLAs and invited guests such as Martina Hanna, Head of Gender Equality and Sexual Orientation Unit. However, the event would not have been the same without your enthusiastic and intelligent contributions!
One of the clear highlights of the day was our opening speaker, Mairead Healy, founder of Future Voices Ireland, who spoke candidly and passionately about her own personal experiences of overcoming adversity as well as encouraging you to persevere and fulfill your potential. Within your feedback you also raved about Senator Ivana Bacik’s closing speech who inspired us with her arguments for change.
It was great to hear you question the panel of MLAs (Trevor Lunn Alliance, Claire Hannah Green Party, Megan Fearon Sinn Fein, John McCalister Independent, Sandra Overend UUP and Emma Pengelly DUP) on their parties’ stances on gender equality and the possible introduction of gender quotas.
There was an opportunity fro you to develop your own ideas for a Private Members Bill to shape future policy. Your ideas included; lowering the voting age to sixteen, bodily autonomy, marriage equality and equal pay provisions, compuslory political education, support provision for mental health and shared parental leave. It was brilliant to hear the concerns of young people today!
Your pledges were also inspiring; I Pledge ‘to stand with other women to make gender inequality a thing of the past’, ‘to take the fear out of feminism’ and ‘to have the confidence to speak out against misogyny’.
The feedback from the day was overwhelming with some of your comments including; ‘This was a life changing experience’; ‘Great experience – happy I came here today!’; ‘All the speakers were engaging, a really thought-provoking event’.
Thanks for the wonderful day – we look forward to working with you all very soon!