Armstrong says more needs to be done to encourage women into public life

Alliance Strangford Westminster candidate Kellie Armstrong says more need to be done to encourage women into public life after a major report found female representation was still falling below acceptable standards here.

The Public Appointments Annual Report for Northern Ireland, published by the Executive Office, presents data on public appointments here in 2015/16. It showed an underrepresentation of females in regards to applications received, appointments made and appointments held, with only 37 per cent of applications and 41 per cent of appointments made being women. Only 41 per cent of appointments held in the same time were women.

Ms Armstrong said it was further proof more needed to be done to combat levels of females in public life.

“It is disappointing to see the number of females on public boards as public appointments is below the levels needed for gender equality. There has undoubtedly been positive work done to widen female participation in public life, create the necessary support networks to address and overcome bias, and challenge unconsciously discriminatory culture and practice in organisations.

“But public bodies need to take their job seriously and ensure more is done. Alliance is leading the way on this issue in politics – only last week we announced our Westminster candidates, with a natural 50/50 gender split. That is not due to quotas but rather creating the positive conditions in which women feel comfortable coming forward and standing for election. That same situation needs to happen in other areas of public life.”

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