Inez McCormack

Inez McCormack was a leading pioneer of Northern Ireland’s civil rights movement. But a life of social activism was not always in the cards for Inez. 

Growing up, a Unionist background sheltered her from the inequities of a divided nation. In 1968, her participation in an anti-Vietnam rally changed all that. Her first taste of activism triggered a lifelong commitment to the equal treatment of forgotten workers, minorities and women, in particular. 

Years of grassroots organizing led to positions such as director of UNISON, the United Kingdom’s largest trade union, and as the first female president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. She has served as chair of the North/South Health Service Partnership, senior advisor to the Global Coalition for Women’s Rights/Worker’s Rights, and founding member of the Northern Ireland Fair Employment Commission. 

Considering her unwavering sense of justice, it was only fitting that Inez help shape the equality and human rights provisions of the 1998 Good Friday Peace Accords. In 2008, she received the prestigious Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award.

Inez was a founding member of Vital Voices Global Advisory Council, and was honored in 2002 at our Global Leadership Awards in recognition of her contributions as a human rights advocate. Her remarkable story is profiled in our documentary play, SEVEN.

In her last years, Inez advocated for women and minority workers as chair of the Participation and the Practice of Rights Project.

Inez McCormack passed away January 21, 2013. Read the tribute by Alyse Nelson.