Suffrage

Find out about suffrage and gender in Ireland using records created during the early twentieth century and beyond.

Suffrage online and interactive resources

To mark the Representation of the People Act 1918, PRONI has developed a number of online and interactive resources in collaboration with the Nerve Centre.   

'Stand up and be counted' interactive resource

An interactive resource bringing new life to PRONI's 'Stand up and be counted' education pack, featuring extensive archival material about the suffrage movement, repurposed in a digital format with interactive timelines, video content and quiz questions.

The original archival documents made available as part of this online resource will allow anyone interested in the themes of suffrage, gender and democracy – or indeed the wider Decade of Centenaries – to explore original documents created at the time. This resource will not only widen access to PRONI archives, but will exemplify how they can be used to engage people in a conversation, exploring the relevance of historical events in today’s society.

Graphic Novel - Countess Constance Markievicz and Edith, Lady Londonderry 

This new flip-side graphic novel explores the lives of Countess Constance Markievicz and Edith, Lady Londonderry, including their efforts to bring about equality between women and men.  This resource is linked to the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and includes suggested digital tasks for the classroom.

Suffrage/ Representation of the People Animation 

This specially commissioned 2.5D animation charts the history of the suffrage movement, with a particular focus on the role played by women from across Ireland.

You can find out more about these interactive resources on the Creative Centenaries  website.

PRONI Suffrage Map

This interactive map developed by PRONI and Land and Property Services explores some of the documented suffrage activities which took place locally including rallies, protests and attacks on property, and how these events were reflected in the press.

All maps are interactive and date to around the time that these events and activities took place.  

Visit the PRONI Suffrage Map to find out more about these sites.

Diaries

PRONI has digitised a number of the diaries of Charlotte Despard and Lillian Spender.  You can read the diaries to find out more about the activities, interests and political beliefs of these two women during the struggle for equal franchise.  All of the diaries in these collections are available to order and view in PRONI's Reading Room.

Diary of Charlotte Despard, 1913  (D2479/1/1)

Charlotte was an Anglo-Irish suffragist, activist, and novelist.  Born in Kent, she married Maximilian Despard, and became renowned for the active role she played in the suffragette movement in the early twentieth century.  In 1908 Charlotte joined Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and others to form the Irish Women’s Franchise League.  She settled permanently in Dublin after the First World War.

Read Charlotte Despard's 1913 diary in which she reflects on her interest in the suffragette movement, including the activities of Emmeline Pankhurst, and the death of Emily Davison as a result of her protest at Epsom.

Diaries of Lillian Spender, 1912 to 1920 (D1633/2/19)

Lillian was an English diarist who married Captain Wilfred Spender in 1913.  After their honeymoon, they came to Belfast as Wilfred was drawn to the area with his strong support of Unionism.  Wilfred was a civil servant who was responsible for laying the foundations for the civil service of Northern Ireland.  Lillian was a member of the UVF Nursing Corps and worked in the Ulster Division Comforts Fund during the First World War.

Read Lillian Spender's 1913 diary in which she comments on political, social and domestic topics, such as nursing, the War effort, and suffragette activities in Ulster.

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