Women in Politics and evangelical Protestantism - has there been progress in 25 years?

This weekend two seminal films exploring the role of women in political life and in the evangelical Protestant tradition in Northern Ireland will be screened in the MAC followed by panel discussions on progress and attitudes in 2022.

Women’s Work, made by Nuala Haughey and broadcast 25 years ago, examined the role of women in local politics. Dust on the Bible is a 1989 documentary by John T. Davis documenting charismatic street preachers in Northern Ireland. The two films will be screened on the 19 and 20 March respectively.

On Saturday Women’s Work will be followed by a discussion featuring 1997 election candidate Bronagh Hinds, commentator Sarah Creighton, activist Elaine Crory, and Lynn Carvill, CEO of WOMEN'STEC, a social enterprise which seeks to promote careers for women and girls in male-dominated sectors.

In Women’s Work, a number of candidates in the 1997 general election are profiled as they canvass for votes in various constituencies across Northern Ireland. Monica McWilliams (Women’s Coalition), Iris Robinson (DUP), Brid Rodgers (SDLP), Marie Moore (SF), and Bernadette Devlin all feature while there are glimpses of a host of other politicians, some of whom are still on the political scene.

Lynn Carvill from WOMEN'STEC is looking forward to the event,

“The 1997 film is a wonderful snapshot of how it was to be a woman in the male-dominated public life of politics. Of course progress has been made and we have female MPs, MLAs, Ministers and party leaders. Many challenges remain though, in particular the despicable harassment on social media faced by many of our female politicians. It is an unfortunate truth that in many career areas, we still don’t have to look far to find the old attitudes and explicit misogyny which still must be tackled head on."

On 20 March, the MAC, in partnership with Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive presents Dust on the Bible, a 1989 documentary by John T. Davis followed by a panel discussion which will feature novelists Jan Carson and Sue Divin, and poet, Moyra Donaldson. All three writers have recently produced work exploring women’s experience within the evangelical Protestant tradition.

Áine McVerry from the MAC is looking forward to a weekend of challenging discussion,

“At the MAC we are always seeking to facilitate discussion on a wide range of topics and this event will set the context perfectly as Northern Ireland heads towards another election. We want to challenge in an informed way how both politics and evangelical Protestantism accommodate and promote women, if at all. These will be challenging and even entertaining events and I look forward to welcoming our politicians, commentators and of course our audience.”

Women’s Work - Never Done, a film screening of Women's Work and panel discussion takes place at 3pm in the Mac on Saturday 19 March; Seen but not Heard, a film screening of Dust on the Bible and panel discussion is on Sunday 20 at 3pm.

Click here for tickets.