Photo by Derek Speirs

Coming to PBS as part of its WOMEN, WAR & PEACE II series tonight, Monday, March 25:

Eimhear O’Neill

BBC broadcast (September 2017)

The story of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, a women’s political party formed in 1996.

Against the backdrop of decades of political and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland colloquially known as The Troubles, a group of women emerged who demanded a seat at the bargaining table to seek peace. While their male political counterparts seemed unable or unwilling to forge relationships across religious lines, women like Monica McWilliams, a Catholic, and Pearl Sagar, a Protestant, were able to gather together others like themselves with the goal that women’s voices not be ignored as the nation attempted to broker peace. As O’Neill’s straightforward but interesting project reveals, they succeeded, to a point, securing two seats at the Northern Ireland Forum which led to the Good Friday Agreement. The film features organizers who reflect on the importance of their activism, and on the ultimate fate of the party – viewed as a peace party by many, rather than a sustainable group for women’s continued political engagement, they lost momentum once they met their primary goal, and eventually dissolved.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

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