Women in Irish Political Life. Lecture 14 .
‘A significant minority of Irish women had become increasingly articulate and active in feminist, nationalist and labour concerns. To the number of nationalist women involved before and during the Rising of 1916, many thousands more were added in the wake of the Rising. From this point up to the bitter political divisions caused by the Treaty in 1922, such women played a significant role in the development of the emerging state.’
‘It is generally assumed that nineteenth-century Irish politics were a function of public life, a male activity in which women played little if any role. Political historians pay scant attention to the role of women in political life, seeing it as either peripheral, or of small consequence. Women, of course, were not voters, nor did they have access to high political office in the nineteenth century. Although individual women such as Isabella Tod and Anna Haslam can be regarded as politicians, for most of the nineteenth century Irish women were excluded from formal male political culture.’Maria Luddy, ‘Women and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Ireland’ in Women and Irish History, p89.
Founded in New York in October 1880
Dissolved in August 1882
Oversaw the housing of evicted tenants
Visible role in Irish political life
Some women were radicalised by their involvement and became important
national figures – Jenny Wyse Power and Hannah Lynch
Fanny Parnell (1849-1882)
1896: Dublin Women’s Suffrage Association (est. 1876) had 43 members1912: IWFL (est. 1908)had 1000 members, 50 of whom were active1909: Irish branch of the Conservative and Unionist Women’s Suffrage Association founded1911: Munster Women’s Franchise League established1913: Church League for Women’s Suffrage set up (Anglican)1915: Irish Catholic Women’s Suffrage Association founded
Bridget O’Mullane, Witness Statement 450.
1. To advance the cause of Irish liberty
2. To organise Irishwomen in furtherance of this object
3. To assist in arming and equipping a body of Irishmen for the defence of Ireland
4. To form a fund for these purposes to be called the ‘Defence of Ireland Fund’
Rose McNamara, Vice Commandant of the Cumann na mBan contingent in the Marrowbone Lane distillery, Easter 1916
Mrs M.A. McGrath, Witness Statement 1704