This talk will look at the origins of the suffrage movement in Ireland in the late 19th century before highlighting the exciting period of suffrage militancy between 1912-1914. Women were jailed in Dublin and Belfast, took part in window smashing and arson and went on hunger strike in an attempt to convince the public and politicians that women had the right to vote on equal terms to men. The campaign for Home rule, Unionist opposition, the First World War and the Easter Rising were all significant events shaping the Irish suffrage movement, leading eventually to the granting of the vote in 1918 and the election of the first woman MP, Countess Markieivcz.
Dr Margaret Ward is the author of a number of books, including 'Unmanageable Revolutionaries: women and Irish nationalism', biographies of Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and Maud Gonne and most recently 'Hanna Sheehy Skeffington: suffragette and Sinn Feiner, her memoirs and political writings', UCD Press, 2017. Margaret is currently Visiting Fellow in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen's University, Belfast.
February 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act which marks the first milestone in the journey of women’s suffrage, the right to vote in political elections.
To mark the year National Museums NI will be highlighting the women in our collections through exhibitions and events.