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Title: Women activists and organisations in Ireland, 1945-60
Author: Shepard, C. C.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3402 9256
Awarding Body: Queens University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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The purpose ofthis thesis is to examine the ways in which women's voluntary organisations enabled Irish women to engage in various forms of social, political and religious-based activism during the middle-decades of the twentieth-century. This thesis contends that, like the earlier generation of activists who fought for suffrage in Ireland, middle-class, often urban, women continued to carve out a niche for themselves in the public sphere through their membership in 'non-political' voluntary associations which aimed to improve their own lives as well as the lives of others, mainly women and children. Voluntary associations drew women together by encouraging them to engage in a wide range of social activism: they brought them into contact with international organisations; encouraged a sense of collective identity; provided relief to the poor and supported the missions of their churches. Membership in voluntary organisations also allowed women to build social capital, engage in interest group politics and effect change in Ireland.' , The identification ofwomen with interest group politics is not often associated with the middle-decades of the twentieth century. In a series of articles and other publications on the origins of interest group politics in Ireland, Gary Murphy asserts that the birth of interest group politics in Ireland began in the mid-1950s with the rise of the National Farmers Association and the subsequent move toward EEC membership in the early 1960s. This thesis demonstrates that through participation in voluntary organisations-such as the Catholic Women's Federation of Secondary School Unions, the Irish Housewives Association, the Legion of Mary and the Women's Missionary Association of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland- women increasingly adopted the role of political and social actors, engaging in, albeit not always successfully, interest group politics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available