News & Media Centre

Conference Irish Women and the Vote: Suffrage and Citizenship


6th May 2008


Irish Women and the Vote: Suffrage and Citizenship

10.00am – 5.00pm Saturday 24th May 2008

In light of the forthcoming Lisbon Referendum, the rights of Irish citizens to vote and shape Ireland’s future is extremely topical and makes an upcoming conference at the National Museum on suffrage and citizenship a timely and important event.

It is hard to believe that it is only 90 years since women were first granted the vote in Ireland. In January 1918, Irish women over the age of 30 voted in a general election for the first time. In December of that year, Countess Markievicz became the first women ever to be elected as an MP to the British House of Commons, although, as a member of Sinn Féin, she did not take her seat.

Now a range of speakers has been brought together to explore and talk about the Irish suffrage movement and its wider impact on life in Ireland. The conference aims to explore the achievements, challenges and the legacies of the hard fought campaign for equal citizenship and is for everyone with a general interest in Irish social, cultural and political history.

A small exhibition of artefacts relating to this theme will be on display from mid May. The Museum’s historical collection contains a number of such items, including handbills, photographs and documents, that relates to the activities of the Irish Women’s Franchise League (whose centenary is celebrated this year) and to individuals such as the Sheehy Skeffingtons and Countess Markievicz.

Available for interview:

Dr. Louise Ryan – Deputy Director of the Social Policy Research Centre, Middlesex University. She has published numerous articles on the Irish suffrage movement. Her anthology of the suffrage newspapers the Irish Citizen, Irish Feminism and the vote was published in 1996. She has co-edited two books with Margaret Ward, Irish Women and Nationalism (2004) and Irish Women and the vote (2007)

Dr. Margaret Ward - Director of the Women’s Resource and Development Agency, Belfast and was assistant Director of the think tank Democratic Dialogue from 2000-05. Margaret was previously lecturer in history and women’s studies at the University of the West of England and Bath Spa University. She has published a number of books on the role of women in Irish history and co-edited, with Louise Ryan, studies of Irish women and nationalism and Irish suffrage movement, including Irish Women and the vote (2007)

Note to Editors:

This year also marks the 100th Anniversary of the establishment of the Irish Women’s Franchise League by Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and others.

The Conference takes place at the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7

Booking Essential

Tickets: €30.00

Students, Senior Citizens, Unwaged: €15

Includes morning tea/coffee and light lunch

For further information and to book a place contact the Education and Outreach Department: Telephone 01 648 6453 or Email:

For Further Press Information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Maureen Gaule - Marketing Executive - Marketing Department - National Museum of Ireland

Tel: 01 - 648 64 29 E-Mail: Website:

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