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Assembly Women's Week, Monday 7 March to Friday 11 March

Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, Speaker of the Northern Ireland AssemblyThe Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, is hosting the Assembly’s first Women’s Week from Monday 7 March – Friday 11 March 2016, to encourage more women to participate in public life. International Women’s Day is on Tuesday 8 March. Everyone is invited to attend.

The Women's Week programme includes a showing of the film ‘Suffragette’, which tells of the struggle to get votes for women, and a number of Q & A Panel events. Booking is essential.

Speaker McLaughlin said: "Highlighting the need for more women in the Assembly and the wider public sphere has been a priority for me since becoming Speaker. The current level of 23 women MLAs out of a total of 108 is the best the Assembly has achieved since 1998 but is still totally imbalanced compared to the fact that 51% of our population is female. Addressing that requires positive effort and a focus on the barriers women face.

"The events that make up Assembly Women's Week cover a number of different areas including looking at the obstacles to women contributing to public life in greater numbers and recognising the many role models of great female achievement which exist locally.

"Increasing the level of female participation does require commitment from parties but it needs wider community involvement rather than parties just talking to themselves. I am therefore pleased that the public will have an opportunity to attend a range of these events—and I would urge everyone to look at our website and book to come along.

"We have an election coming up and I hope Assembly Women's Week will firmly put the issue of seeing greater female participation in public life and the debate on how we achieve it back on the agenda."

More information about the Assembly Women's Week programme, including information about booking, can be found at http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/visit-and-learning/assembly-womens-week