Northern Ireland news

'Forgotten' women achievements told in new historical website

Margaret Ward, Lynda Walker and Myrtle Hill who researched and wrote A Century of Women, a major new online resource which charts the forgotten history of the many remarkable women who made a lasting impact on society during the tempestuous years of the 20th century.
Joanne Sweeney

REMARKABLE women from the north and their 'unforgotten' stories of achievement in the last century are told in a new website launched today.

A Century of Women (www.acenturyofwomen.com) showcases more than 60 women and their work in the causes of equal and workers' rights, justice, and Irish nationalism.

Launched in Belfast by writer and broadcaster Susan McKay, the website contains individual biographies, historical narrative and video interviews.

It chronicles the life and times of women from all creeds in the 20th century and has been painstakingly compiled by leading feminist academics and activists, Margaret Ward, Myrtle Hill and Lynda Walker over the last 18 months.

From the 1900s, there's Omagh-born Alice Milligan, a Protestant teacher who embraced Irish nationalism and was highly active in the Gaelic League. She helped found the Anti-Partition League in the 1930s.

Republican Winnie Carney from north Belfast - the first woman to enter the GPO after the 1916 rising - is featured for her trade union work in Belfast from 1910 alongside Easter Rising hero James Connolly.

Civil rights activist and former Westminster MP Bernadette Devlin (McAliskey), former president and law lecturer Mary McAleese, former Northern Ireland's Women Coalition politician Monica McWilliams, integrated education campaigner Baroness May Blood and journalist Suzanne Breen are among well-known contemporary figures included.

Lessor known women such as Derry's Cathy Harkin, who founded the Northern Ireland Women's Aid Federation and single parent charity Gingerbread, are also featured.

Project Manager Lynn Carvill said that the website aims to honour the impact of the women's achievement's and "their determination to have their voices heard in a closed, patriarchal society".

"Women were invisible from the history books because history was written largely by men and we sought to change this. The strong, independent women featured in A Century of Women have made a major impact on the lives of all of us," she added.

The £10,000 project was funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and organised by the charity Women'stec in collaboration with the feminist campaign group Reclaim the Agenda.

Margaret Ward, Lynda Walker and Myrtle Hill who researched and wrote A Century of Women, a major new online resource which charts the forgotten history of the many remarkable women who made a lasting impact on society during the tempestuous years of the 20th century.

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