Women, from having till very recently stood so far removed from all politics, should be able to formulate a much clearer and more incisive view of the political situation than men. For a man from the time he is a mere lad is more or less in touch with politics, and has usually the label of some party attached to him, long before he properly understands what it really means…
Now, here is a chance for our women… Fix your mind on the ideal of Ireland free, with her women enjoying the full rights of citizenship in their own nation, and no one will be able to sidetrack you, and so make use of you to use up the energies of the nation in obtaining all sorts of concessions – concessions too, that for the most part were coming in the natural course of evolution, and were perhaps just hastened a few years by the fierce agitations to obtain them…..
You will go out into the world and get elected onto as many public bodies as possible, and by degree through your exertions no public institution – whether hospital, workhouse, asylum or any other, and no private house – but will be supporting the industries of your country….
Excerpts taken from two speeches by Constance Markievicz:
Lecture to the Students’ National Literacy Society, Dublin, 1909.
Speech to the Irish Women’s Franchise League, Dublin, October 1915.
(both reprinted in Ward, Margaret, In Their Own Voice: Women and Irish Nationalism. Dublin: Attic Press, 1995).