At the 2016 NIPSA General Conference a motion was passed to rename the Equal Opportunities Committee to the Equality Committee. Your comments and suggestions on the future work of the NIPSA Equality Committee are particularly welcome.

Gender Equality Guidance on Participation on NIPSA Business


  1. The former NIPSA Women’s Committee recommended that gender equality guidance be drawn up. This recommendation arose from the 2001 Triennial Review of the Participation of Women in NIPSA Business. This Review showed that there was under-representation of women at the following levels:

    1. branch

    2. conference delegates

    3. executive committees

    4. seconded officers

    5. permanent officials

  2. This guidance focuses on gender representation at branch level and branch nominations for panels/departmental committees and conference delegations. The purpose of this guidance is to strongly encourage branches to make every effort to improve the representation of women within the union. However, it should be noted that this is initial guidance and the General Council will be examining further measures to be taken at other levels within NIPSA to improve gender representation.

  3. This guidance is primarily aimed at branches where the composition of members falls into the range between 60% female/40% male to 40% female/60% male. If your membership is below 40% men or women, it may not be possible for you to follow the guidance below in all respects, but where possible you should do so. In particular you should appoint a Branch Women’s Officer, unless there are no female members in your branch. The Branch Women’s Officer should also be part of any branch team, which negotiates on collective issues.

  4. Branches should aim for nominations for Branch Officers and Branch Committee to be in proportion to the gender balance of the Branch and for branch committee and branch officerships to be shared between men and women.

  5. Members of panels and departmental, etc committees are elected in a variety of ways. If your branch is entitled to more than one representative or to make more than one nomination you are encouraged to nominate both men and women on an even basis as far as possible.

  6. For conference delegates and for nominations to the Public Officers or Civil Service Executive Committees, a similar approach should be adopted to that recommended in paragraph 5 above.

  7. In order for the above guidance to be effective it is important that branch general meetings and branch committee meetings are arranged to facilitate the maximum attendance of men and women. Branches should ensure that the timing and location of meetings takes full account of the needs of women as the majority of part-time employees and those with caring responsibilities are women.

  8. NIPSA will continue to monitor this guidance to ensure it is addressing the under representation of women in NIPSA business.