From Gaelick contributor, Lou
The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) is a national organisation which represents women across the country; both in the North and South , and this year will see it celebrating forty years of advocating on behalf of women’s equality. The NWCI have now created their first project which is geared specifically towards empowering young females and supporting young feminist’s, efforts to achieve equality for women. They will soon be officially launching this newest initiative; the Y Factor Project.
Platform for young people
The Y Factor Project has been created as a platform for young people, irrespective of gender, to discuss issues and thoughts that arise for them relating to women’s equality. It has been in the making since late 2010, when it was realised that young feminist movements and interest in women’s equality were increasing around the country. The NWCI have always recognised the importance of having young people in an organisation, and they regularly take on young interns who play key roles in bringing new perspectives to the work and campaigns of the NWCI. Following this, research was carried out amongst young women regarding their interests in women’s equality, and in what types of support young feminists felt they need. Fast forward a year and a lot of hard work and the Y Factor is ready to launch.
The main goals of the Y Factor are to:
1) Create an official space for young people within the NWCI. The Y Factor, alongside the Project Coordinator and the Development Worker, is guided by a Steering Group made up of young women under the age of 25.
2) To work with schools and youth projects to increase awareness amongst both young people and service providers, of the issues affecting women and equality. The project is aimed specifically at 16-25 year olds, and welcomes everybody in that age group to contribute. The NWCI are currently piloting a programme for schools which they hope will allow them to develop tools and resources that can then be employed to give women’s equality a more concrete role in school studies and youth projects.
3) To use social media as a platform for young people to generate conversations relating to women’s equality and allowing the participants to guide the direction that conversation, and further action takes. There is a Facebook page where people can share their thoughts and opinions in a “safe space where all voices are equal and fair”; a Twitter account and in the next few days a website www.yfactor.ie dedicated to the project will be up and running.
Coordinator of the Y Factor project, Elva O’Callaghan, emphasizes how essential the voices of young people are to the success of this project, and how the energy they bring can be focused to empower them and other women. Rather than a top down approach, it is designed to allow the highest levels of input by young people to ensure the Y Factor accurately represents and promotes the voices and priorities of young women.
If you are as excited about this project as I am, the Y Factor is holding what will certainly an exciting and entertaining launch party on the 1st of February. The event is free however registration is essential! See you there!