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This is an excerpt from WRDA Briefing on TEO Engagement with the Women’s Sector and TEO Covid-19 Recovery Plan

The rural impact assessment for TEO’s Recovery Plan makes no reference to rural women or the need to take targeted action to address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on this group. The two main interventions suggested by TEO, aimed at rural areas, include:

  • Accelerate Rural Development plans to stimulate rural communities.
  • Invest in sustainable schools for all including a focus on education provision in rural communities. Progress/implement area planning to create sustainable schools that increase the curricular offer for pupils and improve learning outcomes

TEO notes that no steps were taken to identify the social and economic needs of people in rural areas. They justify this on the basis that “each department has been focusing on recovery plans as part of the transition from crisis mode to short term recovery considerations. The consolidated Covid Recovery Plan brings this work together into an integrated Recovery Plan. Departments have engaged directly with stakeholders and gathered evidence relevant to the interventions they are responsible for to identify the social and economic needs of people in rural areas.”

  • Other interventions noted by TEO include:
  • Recreational use of Forests e.g., strengthening tourism offering
  • Accelerate Digital Inclusion
  • Reinvigorate local tourism sector through targeted stimulus interventions amongst others will have a positive impact on the social and economic needs of those in rural areas.

Women in Northern Ireland have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; financially, socially and in terms of health. It is crucial that legislative processes on issues relating to women are accessible and open, as women’s lived experience is crucial to tackling the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women.