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How things have changed

The 1976 Family Law Act (Ireland's first legislation on domestic violence) meant a woman could get a barring order against her spouse if she or her children were at risk of violence.

The 1977 Employment Equality Act prohibited discrimination on grounds of gender or marital status in almost all areas. For the first time female civil servants and primary school teachers didn't have to quit work when they married on the grounds that they had a job which should rightfully go to a man.

The 1974 Social Welfare Act entitled mothers to collect children's allowance. The 1944 legislation introducing the allowances specified that they had to be paid to the father. The father could allow his wife collect the money, but she had no right to it.

In 1970 the phrase "marital rape" was considered a contradiction. A husband was considered to have a right to have sex with his wife and her consent, from a legal point of view, was not an issue. It was not until 1990 that marital rape was defined as a crime.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the pill, Bayer HealthCare, the company which pioneered the active ingredients in the first contraceptive pill, is inviting the public to vote on 50 things which have changed women's lives in Ireland in the past 50 years. Visit www.50things.ie and vote in five categories -- political and social, regulatory and legislative, cultural and media, innovation and technology, and commercial and business. A winner will be chosen by judges Tom Dunne, of Newstalk, Dr Nina Byrne, GP, and Krishna De, social media expert.