Women Divided: Gender, Religion and Politics in Northern by Rosemary Sales

By Rosemary Sales

The continued Irish peace method has renewed curiosity within the present social and political difficulties of Northern eire. In bringing jointly the problems of gender and inequality, girls Divided, a identify within the overseas reports of ladies and position sequence, bargains new views on women's rights and modern political matters.
girls Divided argues that non secular and political sectarianism in Northern eire has subordinated girls. A old evaluation is via an research of the modern scene-- nation, industry (particularly employment patterns), relations and church--and the function of women's routine. The booklet concludes with an in-depth critique of the present peace procedure and its implications for women's rights in Northern eire, arguing that women's rights has to be a vital point in any time table for peace and reconciliation.

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Extra resources for Women Divided: Gender, Religion and Politics in Northern Ireland

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Fianna Fail remains the largest party, losing power only when other parties have formed coalitions, as with the Fine Gael-Labour coalition elected in 1994. Fianna Fail constructed hegemony on ‘an alliance of petit-bourgeois economic nationalism and popular social reform, creating an image of Ireland as “classless”’ (Hazelkorn 1986:334). Clientist politics have prevented an effective challenge from socialist or social democratic politics. Trade unionism is strong, but the Labour Party has achieved office only as a junior coalition partner.

The system encouraged a network of middlemen and usurers. Their exactions frequently necessitated naked force, so the interests of these classes were bound to British rule. Commercial activity undermined agricultural selfsufficiency, but was parasitic on producers, whose living standards were reduced to the barest minimum, while the system discouraged innovation and improvement. Ireland became an ‘agricultural province of England’ (Marx and Engels 1971), but where the interests of Irish merchants conflicted with England’s commercial interest, Ireland’s trade was suppressed.

You went to school and you worked the other half. (National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) 1992:79–80) By the end of the century, Protestants monopolised skilled labour. Although most Protestants were actually in unskilled work, their collective self-image was of skilled workers. Sectarianism corresponded with their daily experience. In the textile industry, ‘the jobs of supervision and the maintenance of machinery were held by skilled Protestant men surrounded by thousands of poorly paid Catholic women’ (Goldring 1991:60).

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