Women will seize control of Moyle District Council chamber on March 6th to highlight the lack of female representation in Northern Ireland politics in the run up to International Women’s Day.
The ‘political coup’ is part of a major project looking at the issue of women in politics in the run up to the local council elections on May 22 which will foreshadow the restructuring of local government.
The project, ‘A Recipe for Good Decision Making’, which is being run by Ballymoney Community Resource Centre, the Women’s Resource and Development Agency and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, involves the four council areas that are due to make up the new Causeway Coast and Glen District – Moyle, Ballymoney, Coleraine and Limavady.
Karin Eyben of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland said: “We chose the term ‘Recipe’ to show we need to balance the scales between men and women in politics. It is all about raising awareness on issues that women feel are important and working towards a better mix of women and men in all aspects of the council.
“The issues that are important to women are a key ingredient of public life and we must ensure that decision making more clearly represents and reflects the interests and make-up of the community.”
Angela Mulholland from Ballymoney Community Resource Centre said: “At present 70% of local councillors in the four council areas are male. Our event in Moyle District Council will reverse this imbalance and give an opportunity for women to debate the issues that matter to them. We chose Moyle because this is the council that most accurately reflects the male/female split in the community, with 53% male and 47% female representatives.”
For the past few months, the organisers of ‘A Recipe for Good Decision Making’ have been talking to women and men in the Ballymoney, Limavady, Coleraine and Moyle council areas to seek their views on the challenges of Women being selected to stand in elections, Political parties engaging with the issues impacting on women, their families and communities, Local councils actively encouraging the participation of women in all aspects of local government and public life.