A Women’s Party Outwits the System in Northern Ireland

Authored by: Nell McCafferty

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Political Transitions
Country: Northern Ireland
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 1997
Citation: McCafferty, Nell. “A Women’s Party Outwits the System in Northern Ireland.” Canadian Woman Studies 17, no. 3 (Summer/Fall 1997): 64.

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Executive Summary

The Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (NIWC) was founded in April 1996. It campaigned for a slot on the electoral list in May. In June, victorious, its representatives took their seats at all-party peace talks, which were designed to bring to an end more than 800 years of conflict between Britain and Ireland. It took the women less than seven weeks to get themselves right up there with the big boys. Their success is all the more stunning given that Northern Ireland, which is still under British rule, was, until the coalition swept in, the virtual political preserve of men.