Saturday 18 August 2018

Male-centric tilt on our history has long ignored the contribution of great Irishwomen

Sharon Ní Bheoláin, whose salary kicked off the current gender pay gap debate.
Sharon Ní Bheoláin, whose salary kicked off the current gender pay gap debate.
Anna Parnell
Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

An entire gender has been belittled, not just in recent weeks but continuously, over time. Since the Irish State was founded, in fact, and in the run-up to its formation. Finally, women and men are saying: enough.

Currently, the discussion centres on the pay gap, but the male-female income difference is just one symptom of a long-standing attitude that dismisses women's contribution. Yet is it any wonder womanhood is undervalued when the work of exceptional women is downplayed, ignored - sometimes deleted from history?

Previous generations of women struggled for the vote, for property and education rights and to pursue careers (poor women always had to do drudge work). Some of those women were also active on behalf of others with restricted rights, for example by risking imprisonment when they championed the cause of impoverished tenant farmers during Ireland's land wars.

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