Bradley Welcomes Opportunity For Gender Equality

South Down MLA Sinead Bradley (SDLP) has said that the increased number of women in the Assembly demands an increase in action against gender inequality. Mrs Bradley made her statement as the world marks International Women’s Day.

South Down MLA Sinead Bradley.

She said: “After last week’s election, women now form almost a third of representatives in the Assembly. There is now a higher percentage of women representatives at Stormont than in the Dáil or Westminster. This is encouraging progress but still falls short of accurately reflecting our society.

“This increased mandate demands recognition of the inequality still faced by women in Northern Ireland and abroad. We must all take action against it. That must include closing the gender pay gap and increasing access to childcare to ensure more women can return to work.

“The SDLP has a strong record in promoting women in public life with Margaret Richie the first female leader of an Executive Party here and Nichola Mallon the first female Nationalist Lord Mayor of Belfast.

“Over the last year Claire Hanna paved the way for legislation to protect breastfeeding mothers and the return of Dolores Kelly to Assembly means the return of a tireless activist against domestic violence, crimes that too often go unreported.

“International Women’s Day is a challenge to all of us to oppose discrimination against women wherever that may be. Great progress has been made in the cause of equality for women over recent years but that work is far from complete.”