Equality 17 was Youth Work Ireland’s year of work to provide opportunities for young people to become involved in supporting initiatives to promote equality in Ireland.
The theme of Equality was chosen by a year-long consultation and consensus campaign with young people, staff and volunteers, which culminated in a vote at our National Consensus Conference in October 2016. In focus groups and discussions leading up to this vote, young people said that they were concerned about issues such as Black Lives Matter, the backlash against feminism in media, the rise of populist and far right political movements and Brexit. They felt that young people had a role in challenging these trends, and becoming more active and involved, to support a fundamental belief in the value of all people.
Equality 17 took the viewpoint that equality is not about treating everyone the same, sometimes equality is about providing extra support to people who need it, and making provisions to ensure there is equal access and opportunities for all. The plan of work plan, activities and initiatives of Equality 17 was very much youth led by a group of young people – our Equality Crew, who were made up of young people from across Youth Work Ireland’s Member Youth Services and worked together during the year to plan and ensure that the year was reflective of the views of young people.
Equality 17 – Generation Welcome
In March 2017 Youth Work Ireland conducted a survey on young people’s attitudes toward equality issues. Over 1,000 young people took part in this survey and the findings were released in April to launch Youth Work Ireland Week. The findings showed that young people in Ireland are significantly more tolerant of differences and more likely to take action to improve society than previous generations. Find out more>>
Stories of Equality
During Youth Work Ireland Week thousands of young people across Youth Work Ireland Member Youth Services took part in an arts based activity to share their stories of what it is to be equal in Ireland in 2017. The Stories of Equality created a shared understanding of equality, and raised awareness of equality challenges young people face in Ireland today. These stories will feature as a key part of our campaign in national media, social media and at conference events.
The year of work culminated in a National Conference on Saturday October 21st in The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin. This event welcomed a delegation of over 350 people, who came together in a dedicated space to exhibit and share their experience of equality. There event also featured guest speakers, entertainment, and equality based workshops which highlighted ways young people could be part of actions and initiatives that support equality and make Ireland a more just society for all.