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2018 National Women's Conference
27 September 2017

Conference notes that in Northern Ireland, women still bear the major role of unpaid primary carer for their children and that the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Executive has not developed a childcare strategy that delivers adequate, accessible and affordable childcare for all. Conference believes that access to affordable and appropriate childcare provision in Northern Ireland is too long outstanding and that Government in Northern Ireland must discharge their responsibilities under the UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Conference is concerned that childcare grows increasingly expensive, year on year, in Northern Ireland, often being higher than mortgage or rent payments and forcing families into debt; that the lack of affordable and accessible childcare forces women out of work and is a major factor in the gender pay gap; and that the lack of childcare provision can have negative effects on children’s early years development and can deepen child poverty levels.

Conference notes the recently initiated campaign across civic society organisations in Northern Ireland, coordinated by WRDA and Employers For Childcare, demanding meaningful investment in childcare alongside implementation of an Executive Strategy for accessible and affordable childcare for all. Conference calls on the National Women’s Committee to consider formally endorsing and supporting this campaign.

Within our own union, Conference believes that we must assess awareness of the extent of childcare provision that we have fought for, by surveying the knowledge of our members in relation to the availability of provision and support that is available to them through their branches. Conference calls for the National Women’s Committee, in conjunction with Regional Committees and Women’s Committees across the union, to organise such a survey and gather testimonies from our members of the impact that the lack of adequate, accessible and affordable childcare has on them. The results of this exercise should be used to inform the development of wider civic society campaigning.