Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

  As you will be aware, the Equality Commission was established in October 1999. We have had a very busy first year and have set ourselves a number of priority areas of work. We have not identified the operation of the Parades Commission as one of our priorities. Accordingly, we have not been monitoring the activities of this body and we would not be in a position to submit evidence on its operation.

  One of our priorities is to use our influence to ensure that membership of public bodies is representative of the community in Northern Ireland. In this context, in March this year we made representations to the Secretary of State concerning appointments to the Parades Commission. We were very concerned that no women had been appointed to this body.

  In our view, it is particularly important that high profile bodies such as the Parades Commission, which deals in matters of the utmost sensitivity and political importance, is truly representative of the community. Further, we believe that where no women are represented on a body such as this, there is a very real danger that a message is put out that perpetuates the stereotype of women not being suited to the "hard" issues.

  The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee may wish to give this matter consideration during its Inquiry. If the Committee would like me to provide any further written evidence on this matter, I would be happy to do so.

20 December 2000

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