Feminism in the Republic of Ireland

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Second-wave feminism in Ireland began in the 1970s fronted by women such as Nell McCafferty, Mary Kenny, June Levine and Nuala O'Faolain. At the time, the majority of women in Ireland were housewives. In 1971, a group of Irish women travelled to Northern Ireland and returned with contraceptives which were then illegal in Ireland.

In 1983, despite the efforts of many women including Mary Robinson, an amendment was passed to the Irish Constitution which banned abortion.[1] Despite two further referendums, abortion on request remains illegal in Ireland though women may have an abortion if their life is threatened thanks to recently passed legislation.[2]

In 1990, Mary Robinson was elected President of Ireland. 92 women have been elected to Dáil Éireann, the first being Constance Markievicz in 1919. There are two women in the current Irish cabinet, Joan Burton and Frances Fitzgerald. In December 2008, Senator Ivana Bacik organised an event in Leinster House in which all the women elected to the Oireachtas over the years were honoured.[3]

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