Feminist Organisations in Northern Ireland

International Woman Suffrage News, 5 August 1921

In August 1921, International Woman Suffrage News printed a report on recent work carried out by feminist organisations in Northern Ireland. It detailed efforts during the recent Northern Ireland general election, a deputation sent to James Craig and the development of a social reform programme.

Feminist Work in Northern Ireland

Active work has been carried on by feminist organisations in Northern Ireland. The Belfast Women’s Advisory Council in a non-party and non-sectarian organisation representing ten Women’s Societies in the city, prepared an agreed programme of social reform for use during the Northern elections. This programme included moral reform, the “equality formula” (drawn up by the N.U.S.E.C.) and the especial Irish points of increased provision for Child Welfare work, a wide measure of Education Reform, Temperance Legislation, including “Local Option.” The majority of the candidates received deputations on this subject, and general experiences of sympathy were obtained.

A large deputation waited on Sir James Craig, Prime Minister Designate, who gave time and consideration to the points of the feminist programme. In addition to this the Advisory Council has been pressing for the enforcement of the Medical Inspection School Children Act, a matter in which Ireland is thirteen years behind Great Britain, owing to the neglect by every Irish political party of all the vital questions of social reform. The existence of the Belfast Women’s Advisory Council proves the strength of the feminist movement in the north, which, after settlement, will co-operate with feminist organisations in the south. There will then be an opportunity of effecting practical work in the reorganisation in establishing schools which will be really free and compulsory, and in safeguarding child-life by extension of Child Welfare Work and abolition of child labour. Northern and southern women worked together for enfranchisement in the past. In the future they will work together to gain the things for which enfranchisement stood.