Feminist Recovery Plan Relaunch

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2022 Virtual National Women's Conference
15 October 2021

The Women’s Policy Group Northern Ireland (WPG) is comprised of women from feminist campaigning organisations, migrant groups, human rights and equality organisations and trade unions – including UNISON NI.

In July 2021, the WPG updated and re-launched its Feminist Recovery Plan, which highlights the experiences of women in NI during the pandemic and make the urgent case for a gender-sensitive response. The Plan recognises the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women and considers the economic, health, social and cultural impact of the disease.

Because many of the evidence-led recommendations featured in the Feminist Recovery Plan have yet to be acted on, the WPG has re-launched its Plan this year to include new evidence which shows the severe impact the pandemic continues to have on women.

In Northern Ireland, 85% of social care staff are part time women workers. 70% of those ineligible for statutory sick pay are women who face losing their income if they stay at home. This means women are more likely to be on social security, more likely to rely on public services and therefore more likely to be in poverty. The government has hardly tweaked the social security system at a time when a collective safety net has never been more important. Many of the punitive and discriminatory designs of social security continue to disproportionately impact women and low-income families; these include the benefits cap, the two-child limit and the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments, which will soon be cut by £20 per week.

The Good Friday Agreement committed to increasing women’s representation in public and political life, yet women remain underrepresented in local government, in public and political life and economic decision making. In the context of feminist recovery planning, it is imperative that women are included in decision-making structures across Northern Ireland.

Delaying the implementation of the long overdue strategies below will only further exacerbate existing inequalities:

• Anti-Poverty strategy

• Gender strategy

• Disability strategy

• Racial strategy

• Economic/industrial strategy

• Investment strategy

• Sexual Orientation/LGBTQ+ strategy

• Children and young people strategy

• Childcare strategy

• Strategy to address impacts of climate change

• Energy strategy

• Active aging strategy

• Violence against women & girls strategy

• RSE in schools

• Make misogyny a hate crime

Women’s participation is key in the creation of all of the above strategies which are set to be basis of the Programme for Government. However, it is concerning to note that in the “New Decade New Approach” agreement, there was no mention of women at all.

Women have also been absent from the Executive’s “Roadmap to Recovery”, which failed to mention childcare – an essential component of enabling parents to return to work. The participation of women must be actively encouraged by the NI Executive.


• recognises the urgent need for Governments across the UK to address growing women’s inequality resulting from the pandemic;

• supports the NI region in its efforts to secure action on the Plan and;

• calls on the national Women’s Committee to use the Recovery Plan as a model to help shape its future programme of work.