In 1922 the pressure that feminist put on the Irish Government finally succeeded. The Irish Free State constitution was drawn up which allowed women over the age of twenty one the congressional option to vote. The passing of the constitution handed women in Ireland the same political democracy as Irish men that is the right to vote. All Irish citizens were promised equal clerical and civil autonomy. The Catholic Church was the ideal support for the Irish state to regain its influence and its jurisdiction over the working class of Ireland. “Religious homogeneity helped contribute to the relative political stability in the Irish Free State during the 1920s” (Keogh D, 1994). This would be the case for many decades after 1922 also.
I will now be discussing the Irish women liberation movement also known as (IWLM). Then I will be explaining what the Irish women’s movement is and discussing how it helped adapt the lives of many Irish women in the 1970s. The IWLM was an organization consisting of Irish women who were worried about the sexism that riddled Irish society legally and socially “A collection of women who had come together under the loose cloak of feminism, burst upon a surprised public”. (Burke A, 2002) In 1970s Ireland contraception was still illegal, Women in society were used as low cost Labour and abortion was still a taboo and an unthinkable act to many Irish people. The founders of the IWLM consist of reporters and journalists whose main agenda was to publicize the message to the media. A proclamation “Chains or Change” was devised by the IWLM and was shown the Irish public on national television. “They published a booklet called Chains or Change, which called for equal pay, an end to the marriage bar, equal rights in law, justice for widows, deserted wives and unmarried mothers, equal educational opportunities and contraception.” (Farren G, 2006) The movement stunned Irish society, The IWLM helped to break the silence regarding women’s issues in Irish society and the topic could be heard discussed throughout Irish television and radio. “The Irish Press, the Irish Times and the Irish Independent, in response to the chord that the movement struck, all started feminist ‘women’s pages'” ( Scannell Y, 1988) The IWLM held large demonstrations and pickets throughout Ireland. Although the IWLM didn’t legally change any laws or legislation in Ireland, they did what many others failed to do, they made Irish women aware of their disadvantages and advised them to keep challenging the government to make a change in society for Irish women.
The IWLM may only have lasted a year but it made such a positive shift in Irish society allowing feminist pressure and discussion into the Irish media and everyday life.