Today marks the centenary of the legislation that permitted Irish women to vote and stand in parliamentary elections for the first time. It’s also 100 years since the first woman MP was elected to Westminster.
Constance Georgine Markievicz was elected in a Dublin constituency, but never took her seat at Westminster. Instead, she joined the revolutionary first Dáil, becoming the first female TD.
The first of the commemoration events on women’s suffrage took place in Glasnevin Cemetery last Sunday (4th February). The event coincided with Constance Markievicz’s 150th birthday, but it also focused on the three issues she championed: labour, nationalism and suffrage.
ICTU general secretary Patricia King reflected on an industrial dispute with a manufacturer of rosary beads, which Markievicz was involved in. The event was also addressed by Sinn Féin president-elect Mary Lou McDonald, and Ivana Bacik, Labour senator and the chair of Votáil 100.
The speakers all reflected on current efforts for the political and economic advancement of women, but focused particularly on the current make-up of the Oireachtas.
Sunday’s event was the first of many commemoration events remembering the fight for women’s suffrage.