by Maire Drumm
(Maire Drumm is an activist in the Irish socialist-republican party éirígí and a former political prisoner; the article below first appeared on the éirígí site, here)
For many republicans and socialists in Ireland, on International Women’s Day our emphasis is often on the role women have played, and continue to play, in the struggles for national freedom, for social justice and for economic equality for all.
Ireland has a long and noble record of many women who played prominent and leading roles in those struggles. Women such as Betsy Gray, Anne Devlin and Mary Ann McCracken; the Parnell sisters; Maud Gonne; Countess Markievicz, Dr Kathleen Lynn and Winifred Carney and the many, many other less well-known but equally courageous women of those times.
From the original volunteers of Cumann na mBan, formed one hundred years ago in 1914, and the women volunteers of the Citizen Army to those who, in more recent decades, played a full part in a struggle for national liberation – the resilience, determination and valour of all those women remains an inspiration today.
In Ireland, women have had to constantly to fight on multiple fronts – to fight for national independence but also to fight against old-fashioned prejudices to demand equal status in the liberation movement and in society and to gain a voice in the political decision-making processes.
When Mairéad Farrell stated that Irishwomen had been oppressed both as women and as Irish people, she spoke an undeniable truth.
It is always worth reminding ourselves that International Women’s Day had its roots in the socialist movement of the early 20th century. It was a Read the rest of this entry »