13 Feb 2024
The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland and their Nothing About Us Without Us (NAUWU) group have today welcomed the motion to be debated by the Northern Ireland Assembly calling for the introduction of a women’s health strategy for Northern Ireland.
The Nothing About Us Without Us group is a coalition of women from diverse backgrounds and experiences working within and across communities in Northern Ireland, and supported by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, and Porticus. The group focusses on supported and enabling grassroots women to be more visible, vocal and valued within and across their communities, the wider public space and consciousness. This is achieved through supporting grassroots women to identify and mobilise around key issues impacting on their lives including the need for a women’s health strategy for Northern Ireland.
Dawn Shackels, Director of programmes for the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland said: “The NAUWU campaign is calling for the creation of a fit for purpose, fully funded, and outcomes focussed women’s health strategy for Northern Ireland. This strategy should be developed using a co-design model that ensures that women and their advocates lead on decisions related to women’s health and a women’s health strategy. The VCSE sector engage daily with clients, service users and members across Northern Ireland and have a unique understanding of the experiences of the communities we represent.
Louise Coyle, Director at Northern Ireland Rural Women’s Network (NIRWN) and a member of the NAUWU panel, said: “To date Northern Ireland and Wales are the only regions not to have a dedicated Women’s health Strategy in the UK. Wales is still more advanced on the road to achieving a strategy with the publication of an initial report in December 2022, the first phase in the development of a 10-year women and girl’s health plan 2024-34. There is a growing recognition of the need for a new approach towards addressing gender differences and positive health outcomes for women and girls. By failing to develop a Northern Ireland Women’s Health Strategy, we are essentially failing to recognise the unique needs of 51% of our population.