Council marks International Women’s Day with conference on key influential women in history

19th March 2019

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, in partnership with Rural Community Network and Northern Ireland Rural Women’s Network, recently organised a half day conference which explored key influential women to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019.

The event highlighted what everyday life was like for ordinary women during 1912 – 1922 and the valuable contribution which they made to society.  Guest speakers included Dr Alexandra Tierney, a PhD graduate and research fellow at Trinity College, Dublin who focussed on Women and Northern Ireland and the Free State and Maureen Hetherington, from The Junction, a Community Resource and Peace Building Initiative based in Derry/Londonderry.

The event explored the dramatic changes women experienced in the ten year period from 1912-1922.

Throughout this period, women advocated for the right to vote, maintained the home front during the Great War, carved a new role for themselves in Irish politics, and took an active role in the new states after partition. This event focussed familiar names such as Countess Markievicz, Lady Londonderry, and others, as well as focusing on how the ‘average’ woman experienced the critical changes in this remarkable decade”.

The event also featured historical re-enactments of influential women during the period and a poetry reading.  The conference was compered by Louise Coyle, Northern Ireland Rural Women’s Network and also included a lively question and answer session which was enjoyed by the large audience in attendance.

There event also featured two exhibitions, one curated by Ashley Forbes, featuring women’s roles during the period and one on loan from the Public Records Office entitled Northern Ireland ‘Suffrage, Con and Eva’ exhibitions.

Delegates at the conference also availed of the opportunity to visit  Enniskillen Castle Fermanagh County Museums to view a new exhibition: Suffragettes, Scholars, Sisters and Spies, the women of Fermanagh 100 years ago.  The exhibition highlights Fermanagh’s forgotten and famous daughters from the early 20th century.

This event received financial support from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s good relations programme assisted by The Executive Office.