Speaker calls for more female MLAs
Stormont speaker Mitchel McLaughlin has warned it is "absolutely indefensible" that only a fifth of MLAs are female.
Announcing the first Assembly Women's Week, starting on March 7, the senior Sinn Fein man called for a dedicated effort from all parties to encourage more females into politics.
Recent times have seen some progress, with the first female First Minister in Arlene Foster, and 40% of ministers in the Executive being women. But Mr McLaughlin said: "If the Assembly is to respect the community it represents it must better reflect the fact that the majority of our population is female. The current level of only 23 female MLAs out of a total of 108 is indefensible.
"There may be different views on how to address it, but there can be no doubt that it requires dedicated effort from all of us including our institutions and wider society, but there is also no political party that does not have more to do in this field."