Latest News Archive 2007
On the 27th December 2007, Benazir Bhutto was
assasinated in Pakistan. Bhutto was not only a politician; she was
also an outspoken advocate of women's issues, a founding member of
the Council of Women World Leaders and of course the first ever female
head of a Muslim country.
On 28-29 September, CAWP hosted the RECON International
Workshop entitled 'Justice, Gender and Democracy in the European Union'.
CAWP is a partner in the 'Reconstituting Democracy in Europe' (RECON)
project, which is funded by the EU. Within this project CAWP will
coordinate work-package 4, 'Justice, Democracy & Gender'. For
more information on the RECON project please follow this link.
We are pleased to have Agnès Hubert, from the Bureau of European
Policy Advisors to EU President Barrossa, to give the opening address
at the workshop. Her address is entitled 'The European Union and gender
equality: from the Treaty of Rome to gender democracy'.
Her presentation can be viewed here.
The workshop proved a huge success with participants
from all over Europe. The programme for the workshop can be accessed
September 10-14, saw yet another highly successful
run of our women's leadership programme, 'The Next Generation'. Attended
by 18 women from local government in Northern Ireland and Republic
of Ireland as well as from other bodies such as the Health Service
and Housing Executive, the excellent evaluations from this course
demonstrated the quality of the content
and teaching in the programme. Further information on the September
07 programme including photos, participant comments and the programme
can be accessed here.
The next programme will run in January 2008. For more information
on Next Generation including an application form please follow this
Harriet Harman has taken up her position of
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party following her victory over five
other contenders. Unlike her predecessor John Prescott, she will not
be Deputy Prime Minister, but Gordon Brown has appointed her Party
Chair and Leader of the House of Commons. She also takes up the position
of Minister for Women in the cabinet. However, her win is not a reflection
of more women in the cabinet. PM Gordon Brown's first cabinet has
5 female members, a fall from 8 in Blair's last cabinet. The meteoric
rise of some young male MPs was not matched by women. Only one woman
joins the cabinet for the first time. For a full list of UK women
Ministers including those who are members of the cabinet or who attend
cabinet meetings, please see our UK
Ministers page on the observatory.
Seven women have been included in the Conservative
shadow cabinet, an increase of three. This includes Sayeeda Warsi
becoming a life peer with the community cohesion brief, who is the
first Muslim woman on the Conservative front bench - or indeed any
party's front bench. Meanwhile the Liberal
Democrat shadow cabinet has also been reshuffled with a net loss of
Each party has new women in charge of their women and equality portfolio:
Labour: Harriet Harman and Barbara Follett
Conservatives: Theresa May
Liberal Democrats: Jo Swinson
Congratulations to Pratibha Patil who is to
become India's first female President. Mrs Patil won nearly two thirds
of votes cast in state assemblies and India's parliament. India has
previously had a female Prime Minister in Indira Gandhi, while the
Congress Party has a female leader in Sonia Ghandhi, though she declined
the post of Prime Minister.
In only the second debate following the restoration
of the Northern Ireland Assembly, members debated the lack of women
in the Assembly and the under-representation of women in political
life generally in Northern Ireland. One of the Assembly's new members,
Sinn Fein's Jennifer McCann MLA, introduced the motion, with Michelle
McIlveen MLA (DUP) proposing an amendment. For a summary of the debate
please follow this link.
The full debate can be found here.
In electoral news beyond Northern Ireland, the incoming Scottish Parliament
has seven fewer female MSPs than the last one. Down from 39%,women
now make up a third of the Parliament (43 out of 129). The Welsh Assembly
has also seen a small drop in the number of women, albeit from a majority
of 31 out of 60 to a still very respectable 28 out of 60 assembly
members. In Finland, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has appointed a
new cabinet with women ministers in the majority. The cabinet is made
up of 12 women and 8 men, with women holding key portfolios such as
the interior, justice and health.
In France, Ségolène
Royal has missed out on
the chance to be France's first female president. However, new president
Nicolas Sarkozy has fulfilled a campaign promise to improve the government's
gender balance by appointing women to 7 of the 15 cabinet posts.
CAWP would like to extend our congratulations to Dr Maire McLoone,
a former participant in our Next Generation
Leadership Programme, who has been named British Female Inventor
of the Year.
A major report reviewing statistical evidence
and recent research on gender equality in Scotland has just been published
- 'A Gender Audit of Statistics: comparing the position of women
and men in Scotland' by Esther Breitenbach and Fran Wasoff.
The audit of gender statistics was commissioned
by the Scottish Executive to provide a review of current gender differences
and inequalities in Scotland relevant to key areas of economic and
social life. As such, it is a key resource to assist public bodies
in producing gender equality schemes. More information on this report,
along with details of how to access the full report, the report summary,
how to order a hard copy and author contact details can be found here.
'A Transient Transition: the cultural and
institutional obstacles impeding the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition
in its progression from informal to formal politics' by Cera Murtagh
is the latest contribution in our Occasional Paper Series, and is
now available to download.
For more information on this and all other papers in our series, please
In Northern Ireland, the Assembly elections
have returned 18 women, the same number of women MLAs elected in 2003.
A special mention must be made of Anna Lo, who was elected in South
Belfast. She is the first ethnic minority candidate to be elected
to the Assembly and also made history by being the first ethnic Chinese
person to be elected to any UK assembly or parliament. Full coverage
and analysis of the elections results can be found here.
Meanwhile in Finland's recent election women fared much better with
the proportion of women in parliament reaching an all-time high of
42%. 40% of candidates were women and the final results meant a 5%
rise from the last election in 2003. Scandinavian countries have long
been world leaders in women's representation; list proportional representation
systems are in use across the region. Finland also has a woman president,
Tarja Halonen, re-elected in 2006.
A new era
in Spanish politics and society has been ushered in with a new sex
equality bill, which will enforce quotas for women in companies and
on electoral lists. In all the country's elections from now on political
parties are obliged to present lists of candidates in which neither
sex has a representation of less than 40 percent nor more than 60
percent.The gender equality bill also stipulates that by 2015, women
should occupy 40 percent of the seats on the boards of the country's
Congratulations to Sarah McCaffrey who succeeded in becoming the new
Deputy President for the Students' Union!
Two Queen's Women and Politics students are seeking to practice politics
as well as study it. For the upcoming student elections on the 14th
and 15th March 2007, Claire Bullock, a final year law student is standing
for President and Sarah McCaffrey, a final year politics student is
standing for Deputy President. CAWP wishes them good luck in the elections.
Click here to view Claire's
manifesto and here
for her personal manifesto. Click here
to view Sarah's manifesto and here
for her personal manifesto.
With the elections for the Northern Ireland
Assembly only weeks away, candidates have handed in their nomination
papers. For more information on the gender breakdown of these nominations,
by party and constituency, please click here
for Dr Yvonne Galligan's summary.
Elsewhere women candidates are faring with mixed results. Hillary
Clinton's campaign to become America's first woman president is off
to a positive start. Last week a gallup poll for USA Today had her
19 points ahead of her nearest rival for the Democrat nomination.
The same poll found that 60% of voters across the political spectrum
said she would make a good president, challenging the belief that
America is not ready to return a woman to the Whitehouse. Meanwhile
in France Ségolène Royal's future as the next president
looks uncertain. Despite a good start, Ms Royal has seen her support
slip in recent weeks, with latest opinion polls putting her at a 10
point disadvantage to her rival Nicolas Sarkozy. However, she has
tried to revamp her campaign by reshuffling her campaign team and
appearing before a live prime-time TV audience to answer questions.
The first round of voting begins on 22 April 2007.
CAWP's current Visiting Fellow, Dr Katherine
Side will be giving a lecture on 'Women's Political and Civil Citizenship
Rights in the Post Good Friday Agreement Period' on Thursday 8
February at 4pm in the Peter Frogatt Centre, room 309. A question
and discussion session will follow the lecture. For more information
on what Dr Side will be researching during her residence with CAWP,
please follow this link >>>>
The Gender Research Forum guest lecture series
continues on the 22nd February 2007 at 5.15pm with a lecture given
by Professor Sasha Roseneil entitled, 'New Practices of Personal Life:
Rethinking Individualisation and Intimacy in the early 21st Century'.
The lecture will be held in room G.028 in the School of Sociology
(QUB), 6 College Park, Belfast. A wine reception will follow. For
more information on the Gender Research Forum and to be added to their
mailing list, please follow this link >>>>
Another highly successful Next Generation Leadership
Programme took place at Queen's University between January 29th -
February 2nd 2007. Launched in 2004, the programme's aim is to develop
the leadership potential of future women decision-makers. By participating
in seminars and workshops on a variety of topics such as, communication,
conflict management, public speaking, management skills and work/life
balance, our participants gain practical skills, essential in today's
decision-making world. For more information or to apply for the Next
Generation programme, please follow this link >>>>
Please click here
for our most recent photograph.