Wednesday 19 June 2019

Aishling appointed to SIPTU Equality Committee

Next Chapter participant steps up to role in public life #womenmakingthedifference

Congratulations to Next Chapter participant Aishling Silke from Louth Chapter who has been appointed to the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) Equality Committee. Here Aishling tells us how it came about...

“I have been a member of the Big Start Campaign which SIPTU is running to promote unionisation of the Early Years workforce," explains Aishling, "And through my involvement in The Next Chapter project I began to realise a gender lens needs to be placed on the Early Years sector which has a 95% female workforce. Although my focus is on children and their rights, I began to highlight the issue of low pay and poor working conditions, not only in the Early Years but right across any caring profession, as a woman's issue and question why it is we accept this inequality.

Through this, I was invited to attend the annual Irish Women's Congress of Trade Unions and again highlighted the inequality of the caring professions which is dominated by a female workforce. It appears I impressed a few union leaders who are currently trying to promote female leadership within their own organisation and was nominated by my division to become a member of SIPTUs Equality Committee.

I am delighted to be part of this committee and hope to drive the change that is required by society to recognise the work involved in caring for our youngest and our oldest members of society, your son or daughter, your mother or father, the people we hold most dear to us and the most vulnerable members of our society. To demand equality and recognise the professionalism of the workforce the majority of which is made up of women and ensure they receive fair pay and adequate working conditions. It is my participation in The Next Chapter and the training I received that shone a light on this inequality by encouraging me to place a gender lens on the issue."

Photo: Louth Chapter participants receiving Certificate of Completion of Capacity Building Training Module Two - Decision Making, Politics and Public Life. Aishling Silke is second from the right.

Photo: Louth Chapter participants at Capacity Building Training Module Four - Communicating with Impact last week. Aishling Silke is middle row, far right.

The Next Chapter is a PEACE IV project targeting women to develop their ideas, build communities and support the transition out of conflict. The Next Chapter aims to improve the representation of women in community, public and political life and contribute to a more gender-equal society. The project, launched in March 2018, has attracted interest from hundreds of women of all ages and backgrounds from across Northern Ireland and border counties of the Republic of Ireland. The Next Chapter project is led by Politics Plus in conjunction with Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) and Irish Rural Link. It is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding for The Next Chapter project is provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.