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Harford, Judith; Rush, Claire
The admission of women to Irish universities at the end of the nineteenth century heralded one of the most important developments of the twentieth. Access to higher education carried with it the potential to radically alter the role and status of women. It empowered them, affording them access to valued forms of social and cultural capital, thus enabling them to play a more prominent role in twentieth-century Irish society. It allowed women entry to the professions, previously the preserve of males, and extended the potential and capacity for women’s involvement in wider social and political arenas. The successful narrative of women’s access to higher education ran parallel to the campaign for their presence in the public sphere. By the early years of the twentieth century, Irish women had secured not only the right to vote but also to hold property within marriage and to enter the professions of law and medicine. The gains attained by the 1920s, however, quickly evaporated: it was the 1970s before female participation in university education returned to previous levels. Today, while female students outnumber males in most universities (59 percent of Irish university students were women in 2007/8), and greater numbers of women are pursuing academic careers, obstacles still remain in the academy which continue to restrict the progression of women. ‘The paradoxes of this unfinished revolution’ are brought vividly to life in the pages of this book.
Keyword(s): Higher education; Irish universities; Gender equality
Publication Date:
Type: Book chapter
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: University College Dublin
Publisher(s): Peter Lang
First Indexed: 2016-11-15 05:24:03 Last Updated: 2018-10-11 15:13:34