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"
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