How the position of women in society has changed over the last century was the focus of a public discussion in Trinity College Dublin last night at an event to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage on the eve of International Women’s Day.
On 6 February 1918, the ‘Representation of the People’ Act was enacted in the UK, giving approximately eight million people in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland the right to vote, including six million women. After decades of campaigning by suffragists, the Act extended the franchise to women over the age of 30 years if they were married to members of the Local Government Register or property owners.
As part of the Behind the Headlines discussion series, Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute hosted a free public talk entitled ‘#MeToo – Then and Now’ to explore if and how the position of women in society has changed over the last century since gaining the right to vote. Organised in partnership with the Institute of Irish Studies in Liverpool University the event took place on the eve of International Women’s Day, which is taking place today Thursday, March 8th, 2018.
At the event Lauren Arrington, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool gave a presentation entitled ‘Violence Against Women and Alternative Media in the Irish Revolution’. She discussed how violence against female non-combatants was represented during the Irish Revolution, and how these alternative forms of media have inflected historians’ accounts of women’s experiences.
Susan Cahill, Associate Professor in the School of Irish Studies, Concordia University, Montréal explored the role of personal testimony and the politics of storytelling in feminist activism in Ireland. In a presentation entitled ‘Trust Women, Listen to Women: Waking the Feminists, Repeal the Eighth, and the Politics of Storytelling’ she linked current feminist activism with the strategies of the suffragettes one hundred years ago.
In a talk entitled ‘#MeToo in the University’, Darryl Jones, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Trinity discussed how universities are among a range of public institutions which are currently undergoing a process of self-examination about sexual harassment and bullying.
Deirdre Ahern, Associate Professor, School of Law, Trinity, focused on the disconnect between the recognised values of gender equality in the law and the reality of the impact of continuing gendered decision-making in our society in a talk entitled ‘Equal in Name: The Limits of Law, Then and Now’.
About the speakers:
Lauren Arrington is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool. She is the author of ‘Revolutionary Lives: Constance and Casimir Markievicz’ (2016) and ‘W.B. Yeats, the Abbey Theatre, Censorship, and the Irish State’ (2010), in addition to articles dealing with topics in labour history, women’s suffrage, and modern literature. She is a Director of the Yeats Summer School for 2018 and 2019.
Susan Cahill is an Associate Professor in the School of Irish Studies, Concordia University, Montréal. She is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London for the academic year 2017/18. Her research interests include Irish women’s writing, Irish girls’ literary cultures, and children’s and young adult fiction.
Darryl Jones is Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Trinity. Professor Jones major areas of research and supervision have been in popular literature, Jane Austen, and horror. His work tends to focus largely (though not exclusively) on British writing. He is currently writing a monograph entitled ‘Dead London: Representing the Shadow-City in the Nineteenth Century’, which examines the way in which London’s various shadows, doubles, undergrounds and unofficial or abject selves are imagined in Victorian literature and culture.
Deirdre Ahern is an Associate Professor in Trinity School of Law where she is the Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning. Professor Ahern is a Fellow of the College and a member of the Board. Her research agenda as a member of the School of Law's Corporate Law, Governance and Capital Markets Research Group engages with the societal and legal expectations of companies and their directors. Director of the Irish Corporate Law Forum and a former President of Trinity Women Graduates, Professor Ahern has written and spoken nationally and internationally on the role of law in ensuring that women are represented at the decision-making table in business. She led a government-funded comparative study which explored the impact of differing national regulatory regimes concerning gender representation on corporate boards on commitment by listed companies to drive gender balance in senior management roles.
About the 'Behind the Headlines' Series
The ‘Behind the Headlines’ discussion series hosted by Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute offers background analyses of current issues from experts from the fields of arts and humanities research. It aims to provide a forum that deepens understanding, combats simplification and polarisation, creating a space for informed and respectful public discourse. The series is supported by the John Pollard Foundation. #HubMatters https://www.tcd.ie/trinitylongroomhub/whats-on/details/behind-the-headlines.php