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.
Through the Equality17 campaign Youth Work Ireland is supporting a generation which embraces equality, progress and change, to become involved and active through events, activities and workshops across the country. The campaign will culminate in a National Conference in Royal Hospital Kilmainham in October of this year. Here are some of the initiatives of Equality17
Equaity 17 - Partners
Throughout the year we partnered with organisations with expertise in supporting equality for young people. Together with our partners we will created national awareness of equality issues across the nine grounds and beyond, by providing opportunities for young people to tell their stories of how they experience being young and equal in Ireland in 2017. Our equality partners were Belong To, Equate, Inclusion Ireland, Youth Action Northern Ireland, Irish Wheelchair Association, Involve, Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland, Educate Together and National Youth Council of Ireland.
Equality 17 - Learning and Sharing Workshops
In April 2017 we ran three Learning and Sharing workshops in Dublin, Sligo and Limerick. Theses events brought young people, youth workers and volunteers together in a creative, interactive and fun space to share and disucss their experiences of equality issues in Ireland. The events also piloted the 'Stories of Equality' activity which was subsequently run throughout our services during Youth Work Ireland Week 2017.
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>>
Equality 17 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. Find our more>>
Equality 17 Communications and Media Campaign
Through storytelling, social media campaigns and a national programme of activities during 2017 we supported young people to become more involved in initiatives that build equality across Ireland.
Equality 17 - Consensus Conference
The year of work culminated in a National Consensus Conference and Exhibition 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.