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  • 4 September 2018

    The conference celebrating the centenary of granting voting rights to women in Ireland and Poland took part on Tuesday, 25 September 2018 in Trinity College Dublin

    In 2018, we celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage in Ireland and Poland. We also commemorate the regaining of independence of Poland and the first general election to be held after the Representation of the People Act 1918 in Ireland.  Women’s suffrage is an achievement enhanced by the regaining of national self-determination in Poland and Ireland alike. Giving women agency in public life was part of the reform introduced by the first independent Polish government. In Ireland the suffragist movement played a pivotal role in the process of granting voting rights to women over the age of 30 in 1918. How were the issues of women’s rights formulated and enacted in the two countries? In what ways did the fight for national independence shape women’s history in Ireland and Poland in the early twentieth century and beyond? How were theoretical concepts regarding gender equality put in practice and how has the political empowerment of women impacted Polish and Irish society?

    The aim of the conference was to commemorate and critically reflect on 100 years of suffrage and national independence in Poland and Ireland. The conference was co-organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland together with the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at Trinity College Dublin and hosted by Trinity Long Room Hub.


    The conference brought together world-leading scholars from the fields of history, politics, gender studies, and art history. The papers spanned a fascinating range of topics, from the history of the suffragist movement and contexts determining the granting of voting rights to women, through socio-political considerations and gender politics, to the visual and material culture of women’s movements.


    One of the keynote speakers was dr hab. Magdalena Gawin, the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

    Other speakers included: prof. Louise Ryan (University of Sheffield), dr Dobrochna Kałwa (University of Warsaw), Dr Roisin Healy (NUI Galway), dr Aneta Stępień (TCD), dr Bożena Cierlik (UCC) and Ms Donna Gilligan (National Print Museum of Ireland).


    The conference was accompanied by the exhibition "Women of Independence" produced by the Polish History Museum and the Ministry of Foreign Affrairs.               



    Watch the photos from the conference below.



    14:10-15:30 Panel 1 – Women’s rights: theories and practices

    Chair: Dr hab. Galia Chimiak

    Dr hab. Magdalena Gawin (Polish Academy of Sciences), Main currents in the Polish suffragists’ movement (1864-1918)

    Prof. Louise Ryan (University of Sheffield), Situating suffrage: Understanding the suffrage campaign in socio-political contexts



    16:00-17:30 Panel 2 – The politics of suffrage

    Chair: Dr Aneta Stępień (TCD)

    Dr Dobrochna Kałwa (University of Warsaw), Paths to citizenship: Ideas and strategies of  women’s movement in Poland in the beginning of the 20th century

    Dr Bożena Cierlik (University College Cork), Ignacy Daszyński. Women in Polish constitutions and politics 1918-39

    Donna Gilligan (National Print Museum), A missing materiality: The visual and material culture of the Irish women’s suffrage movement, 1908–1918



    17:45-18:45 Panel 3 – Transnational trends and national manifestations

    Chair: Dr Joanna Rzepa (TCD)

    Dr Róisín Healy (NUI Galway), A woman’s cause? Western European women’s mobilisation for Poland in the late partition and independence eras

    Dr Aneta Stępień (TCD), Polish fight for suffrage and its echoes in Ireland: The case of  militant suffragism




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