New all-Ireland women's forum aims to improve cross-border cooperation
AN all-Ireland women's forum is to be set up to improve cross-border cooperation.
Led by the National Women's Council (NWC), the forum aims to forge better links between communities.
The forum will have 24 members - 12 from the north and 12 from the Republic.
It will meet every month to discuss issues including the impact of Covid-19 on women; ethnic minority groups and political participation, and climate action.
The forum will organise a meeting once a month between an organisation in the Republic and an organisation in the north to help forge greater links on the island.
The project is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs' reconciliation fund.
Emma DeSouza, women's leadership coordinator with NWC, said women have a key role to play in peace-building.
"Evidence demonstrates that women in peace processes are more likely to focus on reconciliation, economic development and transitional justice – all critical elements of a sustained peace," she said.
She added: "Women continue to be marginalised and underrepresented in decision making spaces and peace-building structures.
"In line with Security Council Resolution 1325, the women's forum is a unique opportunity to develop the role of women in peace-building and to ensure women take their rightful place as leaders in society.
"By creating a space for greater dialogue and participation the forum can make an invaluable contribution to the island and to civic society."
Founded in 1973, the National Women's Council is the leading organisation for women and women's groups in Ireland.
Louise Lovett, chairperson of NWC, said the forum was a "historic opportunity" to develop better connections on the island.
"Building on the work of a number of National Women's Council member groups and on the many links and cooperation that already exist between women leaders and women's organisations north and south of the border, the Women's Forum will contribute to highlighting and improving cooperation on key issues for women, including violence against women, poverty, planning for the recovery from the pandemic, climate action and the urban-rural divide," she said.