Feminism, gender and partition
Dr Margaret Ward

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NINOW100: Essay

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Dr Margaret Ward’s piece for NINOW100 looks at the all-Ireland campaigning of suffragists prior to 1914, and the issues that united women. It considers the impact of partition on women’s lives, and the development of two conservative states north and south and women’s removal from political and public life.

The advent of the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s had a profound impact on women in Ireland in many ways and Dr Ward’s essay concentrates on how it helped to bring women together to consider what they had in common and how they could work together. From those small beginnings a movement developed which challenged church dominance and patriarchal power on both sides of the border, leading to profound changes, in law and in attitudes.

Thinking of the future, feminism has always worked to develop consensus, favouring small groups and raising consciousness. Can feminism help in the development of positive changes on the island of Ireland, so that the next decades will be immeasurably better than the past century?

Find out more about Dr Margaret Ward and the rest of the contributors here.

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