The women who supported and fought for suffrage in Ireland were part of a wider international movement, promoting greater equality for women in areas such as education and the workforce, and advocating women’s right to vote on an equal basis with men.
The promotion of these ideals in Ireland took place against the background of the Home Rule Crisis, the First World War and partition of Ireland. Political opinion and labour/class struggles also influenced the progression of suffrage in Ireland.
Women in the Irish Free State gained equal suffrage rights with men in 1922, enabling them to vote at 21 years of age. Women in the north secured the same rights in 1928. With universal female suffrage, the ‘glass ceiling’ was cracked, but not broken. One hundred years on, and those supporting parity for women with their male counterparts are still struggling to make this a reality. Indeed, ensuring equal rights for all citizens is a key aspect of building a shared and prosperous society.
An array of extracts from the archives of PRONI, document some of the nuanced and interwoven narratives, both local and global, which influenced the situation of women in Ireland at this time.
The original archival documents made available as part of this online resource allow anyone interested in the themes of suffrage, gender and democracy – or indeed the wider Decade of Centenaries – to explore original documents created at the time. This resource will not only widen access to PRONI archives, but will exemplify how they can be used to engage people in a conversation, exploring the relevance of historical events in today’s society.
An original online resource was developed for PRONI by Dr Cathy Higgins and Dr Johnston McMaster of The Junction's Ethical and Shared Remembering Project. This interactive resource has been developed by the Nerve Centre.