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AGENI POLICY ROUNDTABLE RURAL WOMEN & AGEING. Background to NIRWN What is Rural? International Women’s Day 2011 International women’s Day 2013 Action.

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Presentation on theme: "AGENI POLICY ROUNDTABLE RURAL WOMEN & AGEING. Background to NIRWN What is Rural? International Women’s Day 2011 International women’s Day 2013 Action."— Presentation transcript:


2 Background to NIRWN What is Rural? International Women’s Day 2011 International women’s Day 2013 Action Research Research Findings 2013 What we would like/need to further investigate

3 Background to NIRWN NIRWN came into being in September 2006 It followed a major government review of the sector, co- ordinated by DSD. The review recommended a strategic infrastructure which included a regional rural women’s support network which would be funded by DARD and by DSD and administered through RCN – and NIRWN was born NIRWN works regionally within both the rural sector and the Women’s Sector

4 Our aim is to articulate the voices of rural women at local, regional and strategic levels.

5 WHAT DO WE DO? Build the capacity of rural women and rural women’s groups through a range of information, access to training opportunities and group development activities Encourage rural women to have a voice through consultation on policy issues that directly affect their lives Undertake advocacy and lobbying for rural women and provide representation for rural women at a strategic level Provide information to rural women in issues directly affecting their lives Provide networking opportunities for rural women Work to increase the number of rural women on boards and other decision making bodies in rural areas and regionally

6 CONTEXT Rural Population-What is Rural? In 2012, using the LGD (Local Government District) based definition of the rural population, 33 per cent of the total population are less accessible rural, 31 per cent are accessible rural and overall 64 percent are rural. A census of the population takes place every ten years and estimates for the years in-between are produced at the LGD level only. The trends indicate that the urban population is expected to remain close to current levels over the projection period, while the accessible and less accessible rural populations are expected to increase

7 International Women's Day Background Each year around the world, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Hundreds of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.

8 Organisations, governments and women's groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues. Some years have seen global IWD themes honoured around the world, while in other years groups have preferred to 'localise' their own themes to make them more specific and relevant.

9 NIRWN, since our inception in 2006, have been involved in hosting an annual event to help celebrate International Women’s Day. The event is a celebration but additionally, it is a vehicle to help: engage rural women in their communities; link them to information services and support and provide networking opportunities to share good practice and to hear what other Groups are doing that may be of interest to them.


11 From an action research viewpoint we utilise the opportunity to access the views of a large number of our members and always have a policy/research question to pose to our members which they can easily and anonymously respond to. This helps us to inform our work and policy/advocacy position

12 International Women’s Day 2011 NIRWN together with over 150 rural women celebrated the centenary of IWD in March 2011. NIRWN gave the women in attendance the opportunity to look at how things have changed positively over the last 100 years, to reflect on their lives now and how these changes have been of benefit to them and also provided them the opportunity to discuss the future and how they would like to see things change for their: daughters, grand daughters and other young women.


14 It became clear from the centenary event that older rural women had specific concerns and issues pertaining to their current life experiences such as: Fuel Poverty, Health and Wellbeing, Home safety and security amongst others.

15 It was our aim to use IWD 2013 to host an event specifically for older rural women to address these concerns in an informative way and provide an opportunity for rural older women to have their voices heard. It was evident from those in attendance at the IWD Centenary than older women felt marginalised and ignored when in fact they are the silent majority.

16 NIRWN’s IWD Theme 2013– Live Longer-Live Better There were three guest speakers covering topics related to the theme: ‘Live Longer, Live Better’ (Baroness May Blood, Fidelma Carolan Equality Commissioner and Alma Mc Manus, Clothesologist).

17 130 rural older women in attendance had an opportunity to network, share ideas, talk about their experiences, concerns and issues. NIRWN recorded what those in attendance perceived as equality priorities/issues for the coming year(s) for older, rural women.


19 NIRWN host two regional events per year: International Women’s Day in March and World Rural Women’s Day in October. We conduct, record and report on what issues rural women identify as currently important. Since 2006 the top 2 issues have consistently been: transport and childcare.


21 As IWD 2013 was dedicated to older rural women we expected that these top 2 priorities may change. We asked the 130 rural older women in attendance to list the top 3 equality issues for them The results were interesting:

22 FINDINGS The number 1 issue identified was: Equal Pay 17.4% This was followed by joint second position shared by: Childcare and Equal work opportunities 13% Fourth spot was: lack of representation by and for older rural women 9% and Fifth was pensions 7%

23 Other notable priorities were: Transport Universal credit Mental Health Confidence Access to Information/Services Acknowledgement of right to Property How to survive financially now retired Health in the future/living alone

24 What Would We Like to/Need to Investigate? We would like to tease out the issues of: Equal Pay and Equal work opportunities as identified as top two priorities and investigate if they relate to pensions. Do older women consider this to have a direct impact on their pensions or, are they considering the generation below retirement age with these priorities?

25 Similarly with Childcare and the lack of affordable childcare in rural areas identified as a number two priority Are older, retired women in rural areas experiencing the burden of childcare falling to them? How many of those prioritised this issue as important for rural women generally?

26 It is important to note that a recent OFMDFM Report ‘Review of Government Funding for Women’s Groups and Organisations’ found that ‘compared with levels of Government funding to women’s groups in urban areas, there was a relatively low level of Government funding to rural women’s groups’ (p.11)

27 In fact what is referred to as ‘relatively low’ in comparison was in fact 1.3% of the total expenditure: £465, 071 spend for rural compared to £35, 139, 339 total spend for urban over the period 2008-2011 It is our view that historic under investment in rural women has contributed to some of the issues and negative impact experienced by older, rural women.

28 Contact us: NIRWN T: 028 8775 3389 W: E:

29 Thank You Questions?

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