This year International Women’s Day follows an election which saw more women come to the forefront of Northern Ireland’s politics.
On this day last year I highlighted the need to encourage more women into frontline politics,
In one short year it happened.
In fact last week’s election saw a higher proportion of women returned to the Assembly than currently sit in the House of Commons. No more can the old adage of ‘it’s a man’s world’ be applied.
Asking us to #BeBoldForChange, this year’s International Women’s Day campaign again draws attention to what can be achieved when people are united in a common cause.
Gender parity may remain a long way off – the World Economic Forum predicts it won’t become reality until 2186 – last week’s results signals true equality for everyone in Northern Ireland is within reach.
Falling below 30 in terms of seats, for the first time the DUP is unable to use the petition of concern mechanism to block progress in Northern Ireland.
Equal marriage is now within reach.
On May 1, the electorate signalled they were ready to #BeBoldForChange. They sent a message that Northern Ireland is a society moving forward, a society which celebrates diversity as a strength, rather than exploiting difference as a weakness.
I’m urging my colleagues across the political spectrum to follow suit. #BeBoldForChange, refuse to continue abusing the petition of concern protocol, refuse to stand in the way of progress.
Just think what we could achieve by this time next year.