Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Assembly Election

The Northern Ireland Assembly Election was held on Wednesday 7 March.
In the area of North Down where I was standing there were 16 candidates for 6 seats.
This was my first time at an election at this level so I was coming in very much as the new person and also the only woman representing the Ulster Unionist Party.

I fought an honourable campaign, it was hard work delivering leaflets to as many homes as possible and knocking on as many doors as possible. I generally walked about 5 miles every day and at the end of the 3-week run up to the election I was pretty much exhausted.

I came in 8th in the running order with 147 votes behind the 6th person elected. I never quite caught up during the transfer of votes to move beyond my position, which meant I was not elected.

When I realised I was not going to be successful, naturally I was disappointed, however, I feel I gained a very good personal vote and thank everyone who voted for me. Their confidence placed in me was much appreciated.

The whole process was an experience and while not successful to the Assembly I am still a local councillor and still very much determined to work for the good of my community.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Women Discriminated in Workplace

I welcome the publication of the Equalities Review in Great Britain. The Review, commissioned by the Government, will show that women with young children are the most discriminated against section of society in the workplace. The Review shows that a woman with a child aged under 11 is 45% less likely to be employed than a man.
The publication of the Review shows the real equality challenge facing society throughout the United Kingdom - addressing the inequalities experienced by women. We all have reason to be concerned that in 2007 such inequalities persist. When women with younger children are discriminated against in terms of employment, businesses lose out on skilled staff. Families lose out on additional income. And parents of girls are faced with the prospect of their child not getting the opportunities she deserves. The fact that the review estimates that the UK economy loses £20billion every year because of these inequalities is a sobering reminder of what is lost.
While the Review addresses GB, it is clear that similar inequalities face women in Northern Ireland. That is why the Ulster Unionist Party Manifesto has called for Northern Ireland's Equality Commission to focus on equality of opportunity for women - rather than rehearsing the equality debates of past years. If we are to have a Northern Ireland for all of us, we need to ensure that women - including women with young children - have full equality of opportunity in the workforce.