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Influential Northern Ireland Rights Activist Wins Woman of the Year Award

Resource type: News

Irish Tatler |

Inez McCormack, the well known local trade union, women’s and human rights activist, has collected the prestigious Irish Tatler Women of the Year Award 2008 (NI category). Nominations for the accolade were made by readers of the Irish Tatler magazine and a judging panel, chaired by Norma Smurfit, deliberated over who should receive the award. Commenting on the accolade Inez McCormack, chair of the Participation and the Practice of Rights Project (PPR), said:I am very honoured to receive the affirmation of this award.In doing so I would like to take the opportunity to honour women in Ireland and all over the world who work for justice and peace and for whom the only affirmation is that of their own conscience. Norah C. Casey, CEO, Irish Tatler, congratulated Inez and highlighted the contribution which she has made to society: When you consider that the aim of the awards is to recognise and reward some of Ireland’s most influential and successful women, it is extremely apt that Inez has received this award.She has an unrivalled track record in the field of women’s and human rights, labour and social justice. Her dedication and commitment has played a significant role in shaping the society we live in today.Often we can take the sacrifices of others for granted – these awards serve as an acknowledgement of our appreciation for Inez’s work to date and indeed her ongoing efforts. Originally from Belfast Inez became active in the Northern Ireland civil rights movement in the late 60’s.She then became a trade union and equality activist, campaigning to organize and revalue the work and contribution of the ‘forgotten’ workers, most of whom were women.Inez also led major campaigns for strong equality laws and to assert the rights of the most disadvantaged. In 1998, she led a successful campaign for such inclusive equality and human rights provisions to be included in the Good Friday Agreement.She was the first woman President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and is now senior adviser to the Global Coalition for Women’s Rights/Worker’s Rights. Inez currently chairs the pioneering and highly commended Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR) project (, which provides local disadvantaged communities on all parts of the island of Ireland support in using a human rights based approach to address the social and economic inequalities and deprivation they face. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Human Rights Commissioner, has described the PPR project as …groundbreaking.They are not just challenging what is wrong, they are creating an inclusive sense of rights and dignity, they are engaged in pioneering work which will command much interest and application elsewhere’. Inez’s work was also recently portrayed in a groundbreaking documentary theatre production in the United States.Entitled SEVEN, the production captures the important work and remarkable lives of a diverse and courageous group of women leaders around the world who are part of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international women’s NGO in Washington, DC, that identifies, trains, and connects emerging women leaders around the world. Inez McCormack – Biography Inez McCormack is an activist for women’s and human rights, labour, and social justice and a former President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.Ms. McCormack played a critical role in shaping the equality and human rights provisions of the 1998 Good Friday Peace Accords and continues to advocate for equal rights and fair labour practices for women and minorities. Inez is currently Chair of the Participation and the Practice of Rights Project (PPR), which supports the disadvantaged to, access resources and services in Ireland, North and South.She is also Senior Advisor to the Global Coalition for Women’s Rights/Worker’s Rights. Inez is also a Founding Member of the Northern Ireland Fair Employment Commission, a Founding Member and Deputy Chair of the Northern Ireland Equal Opportunities Commission, and a well-known writer and broadcaster. She is profiled in the documentary play Seven, and travelled to New York for the play’s premier. In honour of International Women’s Day 2008, Inez attended apresentation of SEVEN hosted by Diane Von Furstenburg, fashion designer, in her New York studio.The play has also premiered in France and Sweden and Inez has just returned from the premier in Washington on 12th November. She has received a number of national and international awards for her outstanding service to human rights and the community.These include the Eleanor Roosevelt Award from New York City and an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast in 2000 for her services to human rights and the community.She says the ones that mean most to her are the Aisling Community Award as Person of the Year (2001) and the Inclusive Ireland Award in 2002.Disadvantaged communities in Belfast and Dublin awarded these respectively.

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