Women’s Aid event highlights efforts to hasten gender equality

Pictured at the Women's Aid event to mark International Women's Day are Antrim and Newtownabbey Council chief executive Jacqui Dixon, Deputy Mayor John Blair, Rosemary Magill MBE and Cllr Noreen McClelland. INNT 10-0
Pictured at the Women's Aid event to mark International Women's Day are Antrim and Newtownabbey Council chief executive Jacqui Dixon, Deputy Mayor John Blair, Rosemary Magill MBE and Cllr Noreen McClelland. INNT 10-0

Women’s Aid Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey (ABCLN) staff and service users gathered at The Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey on March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day 2016.

The event opened with a screening of the film ‘My Story’, which was created by local victims of domestic violence, allowing women to tell their story while offering hope to others living in similar situations.

Hazel Harris, Sandra Murray and Gail McMullan. INNT 10-026-PSB

Hazel Harris, Sandra Murray and Gail McMullan. INNT 10-026-PSB

Speakers included PSNI Superintendent Muir Clark, Colette Stewart, CEO for Onus NI (Ltd), Rev Steven Thompson and the Deputy Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr John Blair.

Pledge for Parity was the 2016 global theme for International Women’s Day. Men and women are joining forces to challenge and break down the barriers that result in women staying in abusive relationships and make gaining support more accessible.

Speaking at the event, Rosemary Magill, CEO of Women’s Aid ABCLN, said: “This is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of these courageous women who made this powerful film and highlight how each of us can be a leader within our own sphere of influence and commit to take action to hasten gender equality. In doing so we can challenge attitudes that foster acceptance of domestic violence in our society and strive to eradicate this social evil.”

Cllr Blair was presented with the White Ribbon Charter, which was signed by Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors and members of staff. The charter affirms the council’s commitment ‘never to commit, condone or stay silent about domestic abuse.’

Women's Aid ABCLN volunteers and staff gathered to mark International Women's Day. INNT 10-024-PSB Pics by Phillip Byrne

Women's Aid ABCLN volunteers and staff gathered to mark International Women's Day. INNT 10-024-PSB Pics by Phillip Byrne

Charters will be displayed in council premises, ensuring that every woman and child who sees them will know the level of support that exists for them to live their lives free from violence.