The Equality Coalition is a broad alliance of non-governmental organisations whose members cover all the categories listed in Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (‘s75’), as well as other equality strands. It was founded in 1996 by community and voluntary sector organisations and trade unions. It was instrumental in putting equality at the forefront of the agenda at that time, specifically in relation to PAFT, the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, and ultimately the public sector duty in s75. The Equality Coalition now has over 80 members, many of which are umbrella organisations. It is co-convened by CAJ and UNISON.
The Equality Coalition continues to provide a forum for unity between all sectors when campaigning for equality, while allowing for the diversity of its members’ work and views. By facilitating a strong message from diverse equality groups, mutual support between members, and consideration of the multiple identity aspects of equality work, it helps to ensure maximum impacts in a resource efficient manner. This approach is particularly important in the current environment, where organisations’ resources are challenged and cuts to public services are impacting disproportionately on the most disadvantaged groups in our society.
There are two key tenets to the work of the Coalition: the first is information sharing and capacity building; the second is lobbying and advocacy. Its aims and objectives can be summarised as:
· Facilitating information sharing, capacity building and engagement;
· Ensuring the public sector equality duty is put into practice;
· Strategic planning to effect change for critical equality issues; and
· Raising the public profile of the equality framework in Northern Ireland.
The Equality Coalition has monthly meetings, at which members can exchange information and discuss current equality issues. In addition, the Equality Coalition compiles and circulates information on public consultations, members’ and other events, and equality news. It also facilitates quarterly high level meetings with the Equality Commission and the OFMDFM Equality Unit. The Equality Coalition hosts several events to facilitate engagement with public authorities, build capacity and allow for networking between members. It is also available to provide advice and support on equality matters.
If you would like any further information on the Equality Coalition, or would like to join our mailing list, please contact:
1st Floor, Community House
Citylink Business Park
6A Albert Street
T– 028 9099 2548
Follow us on Twitter @EqualityCoal