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Why local politics really needs a woman’s touch

I read with interest the series of articles debating the need for ‘a new approach to politics’. The question has been posed how we can better focus on bread and butter issues.

I would contend that one way of making progress in this area is to have decision-makers that reflect the society for whom they make decisions.

While we have some good and high-profile female MLAs in our Assembly, women are still hugely under-represented, and their numbers are decreasing.

As female MLAs step down, they are being replaced by males. Currently, just under 14% of NI MLAs are women.

Experience has shown us that this chronic gender imbalance manifests itself in a whole raft of important socio-economic issues being ignored in discussions, decision-making, and therefore policy development.

Decision-making in our Assembly would appear to be very |much informed by individual experience.

Thus the experiences of women and the bread and butter issues that matter most to their lives are not prioritised.

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Important political discussions and decisions are needed around employment, public services, childcare (and other types of care), health and education.

Lynn Carvill

Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA)