Passing on Lessons in Gender Equality: A visit from FYR Macedonia

Passing on Lessons in Gender Equality: A visit from FYR Macedonia

Politics Plus were glad to receive a delegation responsible for Gender Equality in the Former Yugoslav Republic of (FYR) Macedonia, in March 2016.

In the FYR Macedonia, women are under-represented in the workforce and at parliamentary level. Traditional views of women’s roles have led to a gender imbalance in leadership and decision-making positions. The delegation visited the UK to consult with Parliamentary officials and academics on the barriers facing women in political and public life.

Dr Elaine O’Neill, Head of Programmes at Politics Plus, and Martina Hanna, Head of the Gender Equality and Sexual Orientation Unit and OFMDFM, met with the delegation to discuss gender equality.

Politics Plus created the Young Female Leaders Academy which encourages young women to aspire for leadership roles, and have also successfully delivered a Women in Politics Programme for female MLAs and Councillors. In addition, Politics Plus delivered the innovative Women in Public Life programme; offering development opportunities to senior women in the public and third sector; with the purpose of working towards addressing the wider-representation of women in senior public life.

Furthermore, as Plus Politics Plus have taken the lead, through the Speakers Office, in bringing about a gender sensitive agenda to the forefront at the Northern Ireland Assembly; having facilitated the establishment of the Speaker’s Reference Group on a Gender Sensitive Assembly and the first Northern Ireland Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, we have much to offer in terms of experience.

The collective work of Politics Plus and the wider NI Assembly, has proved successful in furthering gender equality at the Northern Ireland Assembly. For instance, the recent election in Northern Ireland has seen the number of female MLAs increase by 50 per cent. In this election, we saw a number of participants of our Women in Politics programme run for office, with three having been successfully elected. In addition, Lesley Hogg, former Director of Finance and Corporate Affairs Division at the Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute, has been appointed as the first female Clerk to the Assembly/Chief Executive

The delegation was impressed with the ongoing work of Politics Plus and the innovative programmes and best practice developed. So much so that Dr O’Neill has been invited to visit the Assembly of FYR Macedonia to share knowledge and experience and to support their Gender Equality Strategy, in May 2016.

We look forward to working with the delegation and the Assembly of FYR Macedonia on furthering women’s participation in political and public life.