Speaking at the Festival of Women and Girls’ Rugby in the City of Derry Rugby Club to mark International Women’s Day, Sinn Féin MLA and Executive Minister Declan Kearney said:
“Equality is an issue in every walk of life; for everybody, everywhere; and, every section of society.
“I and my colleagues in the new five-party power sharing Executive are committed to promoting equality in all spheres of life across the North.
“The Good Friday and all successor agreements during the last two decades set out a vision for an inclusive, rights-based society, built upon equality for all citizens. That equality agenda must be our ‘north star’.
“Gender equality is an essential benchmark for progress across society.
“It needs to be reflected in our neighbourhoods, workplaces, schools, public services, in the arts, and in sports, both amateur and professional.
“But investment in all sporting codes to promote gender equality is also absolutely essential.
“The North West Sporting Pathways Programme is one model of good practice.. It is funded through the North West Development Fund, with support of €2.5 million each, from the northern power sharing Executive and the Irish government. I am extremely impressed by what this programme offers to coaching and participation in sports.
“We, in the power sharing Executive, are determined to build on the opportunity offered to us by the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ document, in order to build a united community, and tackle endemic problems such as sectarianism, prejudice, and inequality, in all its forms.
“It is up to all of us involved in politics, and across society, to promote and secure the equality agenda, by removing the barriers, challenging the attitudes, and by calling out the behaviour that discriminate against women.”