Thursday 22 August 2019

FemFest: Think of women's concerns when planning our future cities

ONE VOICE: Louise McSharry, RTE 2fm presenter, spoke at Liberty Hall at the NWCI’s FemFest. Photo: Steve Humphreys
ONE VOICE: Louise McSharry, RTE 2fm presenter, spoke at Liberty Hall at the NWCI’s FemFest. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Women's concerns need to be factored into the planning of our cities, the annual FemFest - a women's conference organised by the National Women's Council of Ireland was told yesterday

The conference, aimed at women between the ages of 16 and 25, discussed sexual harassment, moves to repeal the Eighth Amendment, leadership and equality.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, FemFest spokesperson Sarah Clarkin said many women had raised concerns about the lack of safety on public transport and when walking alone at night.

"As many people know, a survey by the fundamental rights agency, which came out in 2015, found that Ireland had the second highest proportion of women avoiding certain areas for fear of violence - a finding that was really backed up in the workshops today.

"People spoke about how they don't feel safe walking to their bus or Luas at night and many women had some experience of intimidating behaviour, whether that was men shouting at them from cars or inappropriate comments.

"Women also spoke about being on Dublin buses and getting off at a stop early because they felt unsafe."

She added: "What we would tell authorities is that when you are planning the future of our cities, you need to mainstream women's concerns into that.

"It's about holding group sessions with women to discuss their concerns. Even the need for better lighting in certain areas needs to be addressed."

Speakers at the third annual conference at Dublin's Liberty Hall included Sinead McSweeney, MD of Twitter Ireland, Sinead Aherne, captain of Dublin Ladies' Football Team and Louise McSharry, presenter at 2FM.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar popped in to show his support by posing for a picture for the waiting media - hoping for a quote on the current Dail crisis.

Sunday Independent

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