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The Programme

‘We are going to change these long standing challenges that women face’

Women’s Spaces is an innovative programme strengthening women’s capacity to take their rightful place as leaders in society. The project builds women’s skills and shares tools needed to engage effectively in peacebuilding, community development and public life, and aims to create new opportunities for women of all backgrounds to share their stories to shape future work and a future Northern Ireland.

Women in Northern Ireland continue to be sidelined in peace building. Women are also underrepresented in public life, with very limited increase in women’s representation in recent years and women’s views rarely included in policy and decision making. Women’s Spaces is a three year project designed to begin changing these long standing challenges.

Delivering the Project

Delivery of the project is led by WRDA and NIRWN, building on extensive experience of working with grassroots women and communities. WSN assists with identifying and engaging participants, and Women’s Platform contributes to capacity building, while also acting as overall coordinator and focal point for the programme.

This dynamic and progressive team has a long established successful proven track record in engaging with hard-to-reach women in divided and marginalised communities regionally, and also has developed strong advocacy models and structures with policy and decision makers through collaboration, partnership and support of the existing women’s sector infrastructure in NI.


Logo - A Century of Women

Women’s Platform

Women’s Platform works to promote the implementation of international human rights standards and UN resolutions in Northern Ireland, including the principles of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Women’s Platform acts as the link between the women’s sector in Northern Ireland and international networks and seeks to amplify the voices of women and girls in Northern Ireland internationally. This includes coordination of Northern Ireland representation in UN mechanisms for human rights such as CEDAW and CSW, as an organisation in special consultative status with ECOSOC.

Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA)

WRDA is a regional organisation whose mission is to advance women’s equality and participation in society by working to transform political, economic, social and cultural conditions. The organisation was established in 1983 and works with women’s groups from all traditions in the most disadvantaged communities and from other urban and rural areas of NI. WRDA promotes empowerment by developing the capacity of women to tackle inequalities affecting them and works towards the elimination of inequalities affecting women. WRDA also engages in advocacy and lobbying for the women’s sector on a wide range of activities and provide leadership, infrastructural support, and advocacy within the women’s sector.
Logo - Women's Support Network

Women’s Support Network

WSN advocate for the established women’s centres all over our Region and host the Rape Crisis Service NI. WSN sit on the Anti-Poverty Strategy co design group, expert panel for Gender Equality and carry out regular research on issues impacting women including poverty, community-based training & education and engagement.
Logo - Northern Ireland Rural Women's Network

NI Rural Women’s Network

NIRWN is the voice for Rural Women providing vital support services, education, campaigning, and lobbying. NIRWN sit on the expert panel for Gender Equality Strategy, Anti-Poverty Strategy, Covid Emergency Leadership Group. NIRWN is a membership-based organisation with over 400 groups and 400 individual members. NIRWN provides advocacy representation for rural women at local and regional levels as well as at UK, Ireland, EU, and international level.

Images from our previous events


‘Women are at the forefront of community development’

Women are at the forefront of community development, within and across communities in Northern Ireland, but continue to be underrepresented in peacebuilding and public life in. This means that women are silenced and sidelined in public decision making; many also face barriers to participation in their own communities. Women’s Spaces aims to change this, by giving women the skills, tools and confidence to engage in public spaces, and creating new opportunities for women to participate in public debate and policy making.

What it is about

Through Women’s Spaces, women across Northern Ireland will be able to come together to share their experiences of living in Northern Ireland, and develop new ways of highlighting women’s experiences in peacebuilding and policy making. Women will also be able to learn about mechanisms that can be used to integrate women’s priorities, views and needs in policy making and public debate, including provisions in the Good Friday Agreement, equality law and international human rights standards.


The intended outcome is strengthened confidence among women to make their voice heard, a new platform for sharing women’s views, and initiating a new approach to policy making, based on gender parity, gender equality and diversity as core principles guiding implementation.

Project Aims & Objectives

The Security Council recognized that “peace is linked with equality between women and men, if women are to play an equal part in peacebuilding, they must be empowered politically, economically, and represented adequately at all levels of decision-making.”



  • Gender equality for women across all aspects of life (civic, community and political)
  • Harmful effects of patriarchy in society


  • Academic research on the role of women in peacebuildng in NI
  • Engaging grassroots women in peacebuilding activities
  • Promote gender equality  at Assembly, Westminster, EU and UN level
  • Advocate for women to be at the centre of all decision making
  • Challenging discrimination and highlighting the role of men and boys
    in supporting women and peacebuilding



  • Supporting women in decision making and leadership  roles
  • Supporting women through conflict management, negitation
    and mediation
  • Supporting women recovering from conflict and trauma
  • Supporting women to speak publicly at a local regional and
    international level
  • Formation of a women peacebuilding forum


  • Bespoke training for women on leadership, building positive relations, cultural diversity, identity and respect for difference
  • Promoting peacebuilding as a collective and individual journey
  • Building a new generation of practitioners on a cross community basis
  • Linking women into networks, opportunities, and decision makers



Increasing knowledge and raising awareness of key institutions and services relating to women affected by the conflict in NI


  • Developing useful resources for women on peace building
  • Capacity building training for key institutions across NI on women and conflict transformation
  • Develop training, events and raise awareness for grassroots women on the Institutional structures that exist in NI
  • Raising awareness with grassroots women on how NI women can have their views articulated at a local, national and international level
  • Create opportunities for women to engage in global peacebuilding practice and share experiences on a national and international level



Work is profiled at a local, regional and international level, North South and East West

Share the learning through the Reconciliation Networking Forum

Sharing the women peace and security toolkit


  • Communicate and share lessons learnt from the programme
  • Events to showcase the issues raised  through the development of the programme
  • Developing linkages with sister organisations North South East West
  • Development of an E Zine, website and social media

The Women's Spaces Team

Charmain Jones

Women Spaces Co-ordinator (Rural)
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Sarah Stack

Women Spaces Co-ordinator (Urban)
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Our Directors

Louise Coyle

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Jonna Monaghan

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Anne McVicker

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Karen Sweeney

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