Today I was in the ‘Self Help Africa’ bookshop in Botanic Avenue, when I came across two postcards which reflected the development of women in politics.
The first postcard Shows ‘Miss Kelly’ a champion Votes for Women seller’, on what was her pitch in Charing Cross.
This refers to the period when women were fighting for the right to have a vote during elections; suffragettes were members of a militant women’s organisation who in the early 20th century, under the banner “Votes for Women”.
The term referred in particular to members of the British Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), a women-only movement founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst, which engaged in direct action and civil disobedience.
Irish Women Workers’ Union
My second find was a postcard showing a group of ladies who were part of the Irish Women Workers’ Union (1911-1984). The Irish Women Workers’ Union was founded at a public meeting held on September 5th 1911 in the old Antient Concert Hall on Great Brunswick (later the Academy cinema on what is now called Pearse Street ).
The IWWU at it’s peak represented 70,000 women including, bookbinders, contract cleaners, laundry, print and electronic workers. They were instrumental in obtaining the right for two weeks annual paid leave for all Irish workers in 1945, something which no organised male worker had previously demanded.
What peaked my interest was the situation of two completely different countries, having spawned women’s movements because women had little or no rights, and were considered to be inferior:
‘Masculine prejudice is the major target: man’s opinion of the fair sex is due to nothing more than mere custom, and the male chauvinist viewpoint (to use a modern term) has neither a logical nor a scientific leg to stand on ‘
Today we still have problems accepting women in positions of power and also in politics; in the last few years we have seen the rise of ‘Times UP’, in 2017 a group of women published a letter which said in part:-
“The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly”…
Just as we have seen and continue to see the fight for LGBTQ rights throughout the world; something which the British Government has in past created the problem through it’s empire days, and even today it continues to on one hand says it is supportive, but on the other pays lip service to it when economics comes into pay (e.g. Middle Est, African Continent etc).
We have a long way to go in this world until we have equality for all, not matter what the gender, or where they live!