A question of loyalty: war, nation, and feminism in early twentieth-century Ireland

Ryan, Louise (1997) A question of loyalty: war, nation, and feminism in early twentieth-century Ireland. Women's Studies International Forum, 20 (1). pp. 21-32. ISSN 0277-5395

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Until recently feminism has not fully appreciated the importance of nationalism and its impact on the women's movement. This oversight may be linked to an ethnocentricity within feminist discourse. However, a recognition of the differences between women and the particularity of their experiences should not lead to a concentration on the purely “local.” While it is important to contextualize feminism within specific cultures, it is also important to recognise the extent to which feminists share similar experiences. International feminist gatherings have provided a useful space for women to explore their similarities as well as their differences. The Irish Suffrage Movement is here used as a case study to highlight the complex ways in which feminists have engaged with national and international issues. Embroiled in a Nationalist versus Unionist struggle on the political future of Ireland, suffragists had to negotiate a difficult path through loyalty and party allegiances. World War I proved a test of loyalty which revealed many of the latent tensions between unionist and nationalist suffragists. However, a number of suffragists advocated a pacifism which would enable women to reach out beyond national boundaries and party loyalties. This paper explores how feminists critically engaged with a discourse of national differences and divisions.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
A. > School of Law > Social Policy Research Centre
A. > School of Law
Citations on ISI Web of Science:3
ID Code:3628
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Deposited On:13 Jan 2010 10:48
Last Modified:24 Mar 2015 14:30

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