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National Independence and Women’s Suffrage in Poland and Ireland

Trinity College Dublin

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 from 14:00 to 19:00 (IST)

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In 2018, we celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage in Ireland and Poland. We also commemorate the regaining of independence of Poland and the first general election to be held after the Representation of the People Act 1918 in Ireland. Women’s suffrage is an achievement enhanced by the regaining of national self-determination in Poland and Ireland alike. Giving women agency in public life was part of the reform introduced by the first independent Polish government. In Ireland the suffragist movement played a pivotal role in the process of granting voting rights to women over the age of 30 in 1918. How were the issues of women’s rights formulated and enacted in the two countries? In what ways did the fight for national independence shape women’s history in Ireland and Poland in the early twentieth century and beyond? How were theoretical concepts regarding gender equality put in practice and how has the political empowerment of women impacted Polish and Irish society?


The aim of the conference is to commemorate and critically reflect on 100 years of suffrage and national independence in Poland and Ireland. The conference is co-hosted by the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at Trinity College Dublin, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, and the Trinity Long Room Hub. It brings together world-leading scholars from the fields of history, politics, gender studies, and art history. The papers span a fascinating range of topics, from the history of the suffragist movement and contexts determining the granting of voting rights to women, through socio-political considerations and gender politics, to the visual and material culture of women’s movements. The conference is open to scholars, students, and the wider public.




14:00-14.10: Welcome and opening remarks


 14:10-15:30: Panel 1 – Women’s rights: theories and practices

 Chair: Dr hab. Galia Chimiak

  •  Dr hab. Magdalena Gawin (Polish Academy of Sciences), Main currents in the Polish suffragists’ movement (1864-1918)
  •  Prof. Louise Ryan (University of Sheffield), Situating suffrage: Understanding the suffrage campaign in socio-political contexts


15:30-16:00: Coffee break


 16.00-17.30: Panel 2 – The politics of suffrage

 Chair: Dr Aneta Stępień (TCD)

  •  Dr Dobrochna Kałwa (University of Warsaw), Paths to citizenship: Ideas and strategies of women’s movement in Poland in the beginning of the 20th century
  •  Dr Bożena Cierlik (University College Cork), Ignacy Daszynski. Women in Polish constitutions and politics 1918-39
  •  Donna Gilligan (National Print Museum), A missing materiality: The visual and material culture of the Irish women’s suffrage movement, 1908–1918


 17:30-17.45: Coffee break


 17.45-18.45: Panel 3 – Transnational trends and national manifestations

 Chair: Dr Joanna Rzepa (TCD)

  •  Dr Róisín Healy (NUI Galway), A woman’s cause? Western European women’s mobilisation for Poland in the late partition and independence eras
  •  Dr Aneta Stępien (TCD), Polish fight for suffrage and its echoes in Ireland: The case of militant suffragism


 19.00: Closing remarks



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Trinity Long Room Hub
College Green
Dublin 2

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 from 14:00 to 19:00 (IST)

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