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The Position Of Women In Ireland

1984 words - 8 pages

This essay will analyse the position of women in Ireland in the post 1922 period with reference to legislation and socio-economic changes in a thematically order. The topics discussed will be education with employment and family with the Catholic Church by referencing primary and secondary material. Emigration of women will also be mentioned in relation to women’s employment opportunities abroad. The essay will end in 1973 when Ireland joined the European Union which is the end point for the course. From discussing the various legislations and acts that were implemented during this time there will be various questions considered, such as what does these legislations reveal about the opinion ...view middle of the document...

It is the opinion of many historians that there was a large influx of Irish women migrating during the time of 1850-1920 because women’s socio-economic position was deteriorating. The women who were emigrating were attracted to places like America because there were more job opportunities which also enabled them to move further up in certain careers meaning women could be economically independent. Around the post famine time women were not as valued in the home or in their jobs, if they had jobs, as they use to be. Many women who emigrated sent money home to their immediate family or relatives. It was because of the neglect and unfair treatment of women and their rights that led to emigration.
The Irish State tried to restrict the role of women in public life. The Constitution of 1922 granted women the right to vote but this turned out to be undermined by legislation that contradicted this equality that women were not allowed a political identity. Subsequently the State then proposed removing women from jury service under the Juries Act of 1927 meaning women were not allowed to sit on juries unless they chose to. They could apply to sit on a jury “Persons Exempted but Entitled to Serve on Application; Women” . It did not help matters when the leader of the country had the typical bigoted opinion that women were simply nurturers of children and virtuous wives. Eamonn DeValera described women were to “produce and educate sons in the nationalist tradition and to be good and virtuous citizens of the new state” . The idea of women being mother and wife at home was a constant notion of the populace.

Men were always the breadwinner in society this caused the segregation of women in the labour market thus making them dependent on their significant others. They were restricted to the home where they were to keep traditional Irish values and instil them in their children. These values typically came from the Church and State. The State thought problems would occur of they allowed women to enter into the employment sector “If employment is to be balanced in the Free State government, certain avenues must be reserved for men” . The State enabled the Conditions of Employment Act in 1935 which stated women could be told by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Sean Lemass, that they were prohibited from working in certain areas of employment, this imposed gender quotas in certain jobs. Members of the Irish Women Workers Union were appalled by the attitude of the politicians and the Irish Trade Union Congress and said in reaction to senator Tom Kennedy of the ITGWU “it was terrible to find such reactionary opinions expressed… by responsible leaders of labour in support of a capitalist minister in setting up a barrier against one set of citizens” . And the Church was also disapproving of women working outside their homes they believed moral values would not be upheld. Other nationalist people believed this too and supported the traditionalist view of women...

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