In a short number of weeks as the weather improves and the evening gets longer there will be a chorus of callers, both male and female, politically aligned and non-party all looking for your vote.
The National Women’s Collective in conjunction with local women’s groups are organising meetings with a view to drawing up lists of issues and specific questions which women can raise with candidates on the doorstep.
The views of women from diverse backgrounds, women’s groups and women’s organisations in counties throughout Ireland are being harnessed by the National Collective of Community-based Women’s Networks and a Women’s Manifesto is being drawn up. A manifesto is a verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. This document will assist individual women and women’s groups in outlining their demands to local election candidates.
For too long women have had their heads down, busy supporting their families, their neighbours, working as community activists and creating a better quality of life in their own area. It is now time for women to demand that change happens to break the structural inequalities that leave local authorities and statutory bodies as largely the preserve of male thinking.
Women’s groups and organisations in Donegal are witness to the stories and the reality of women’s lives. We know of the many hardships, the discrimination, the isolation, the racism and the lack of affordable community based child care facilities. But we also know of the resilience, the power, the courage, and the inner strength that enables women to support each other to listen with care and empathy to the personal stories.
Danielle Bonner, Young Woman’s Advocate says: “In our circle of family and friends we may well feel free to vent our points of views, yet when it comes to taking political action we seem to be less inclined to voice views and take action. We need to ask ourselves what is it that stops us from engaging in politics.
“An answer may be that women have a feeling of personal powerless in their ability to individually change social structures, which results in many falling into a mode of thinking “my voice or vote won’t make a difference so it won’t matter if I don’t use it”.
However, what we don’t realise is that by openly using our voices to share our views we are taking the steps towards actually creating the social change we would like to see. Therefore the more we as women come together to raise our concerns the more power we have to ensure change is delivered.”
As part of the 5050 NW group NCCWN- DWN are hosting two public meetings for women to come and share their concerns and issues. What are the issues that you feel are important and need to be included in the Donegal Women’s Manifesto? How do we strengthen women’s voices and representation so that women’s perspectives are included in our County Council?
At the Donegal Town meeting hear about the work of the Longford Women’s Manifesto Group with Noirin Clancy at the Donegal Town meeting. A project which engages with local decision-making structures to ensure women’s perspectives is included.
Please come and share your views and opinions on what are the local issues for you as women. Your say is valuable and collectively we can make our voices heard and inspire change.
“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better with change.” J. Rohn
Meetings and venues:
Donegal Town, Wednesday, February 12th, 10.30am-12.30pm in NCCWN-Donegal Women’s Network, 6 Tír Chonaill Street, Donegal Town
Letterkenny, Tuesday, February 18th, 7-9pm, Cheshire Apartments, Long Lane.