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Northern Ireland peace and women today

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 09 April 2013

What difference has 15 years of Northern Ireland's Good Friday Agreement made to women's lives? Professor Monica McWilliams looks back at its signing, the role of the women's coalition and its legacy. Women in east and west Belfast discuss their lives today and given recent disturbances, how they view the future in both communities. Provision of abortion remains strictly controlled, how likely are calls to review legislation to succeed? Acclaimed singer songwriter SOAK performs live. How does the Londonderry teenager, who's grown up with the agreement, view life ahead for her generation?

Presented by Wendy Austin.
Producer: Anne Peacock.


6 items
  • Professor Monica McWilliams

    Professor Monica McWilliams

    Professor Monica McWilliams was a founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, which gave women in the non-sectarian party a distinctive voice in the peace talks. She looks back to the heady atmosphere in the days leading up to the agreement, identifies the difference made by the coalition and questions the role played by women in public life today.

  • Dr Margaret O’Callaghan

    Dr Margaret O’Callaghan, historian at Queen’s University Belfast, reflects on Margaret Thatcher’s role in Northern Ireland.
  • Community Voices - 15 Years on, How Much Has Changed?

    Women in east and west Belfast who grew up during the Troubles look back at their hopes for the Good Friday Agreement and reflect on their lives fifteen years on. With fears expressed in both communities and a rise in localised violence, how optimistic are they for the next generation?

  • Abortion - Time for Change?

    Two women who broke Northern Ireland’s laws on abortion talk about why they went public and what change they want to see. Abortion remains unaffected by the political process instigated by the Good Friday Agreement and is strictly controlled here, with few exceptions. Audrey Simpson, Director of the FPA, is joined by Judith Cochrane MLA of the Alliance Party to discuss what’s to be expected when new draft guidelines on abortion are issued for public consultation. 

  • SOAK aka Bridie Monds-Watson

    SOAK aka Bridie Monds-Watson

    Young singer-songwriter SOAK, aka 16 year old Bridie Monds-Watson, has received widespread critical acclaim for her music. Having released her debut EP in mid 2012, the teenager has just signed a major publishing deal with Universal. She performs live in the studio and tells us whether she is optimistic about the future for young people in Northern Ireland.


Anne Peacock


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