What Was Hannah Sheehy's Role In The Suffragette Movement

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Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington from Kanturk, County Cork, was an Irish feminist who participated in the Suffragette movement in the late 19th and 20th century. Along with her husband Francis, Hanna founded the Irish Women’s Franchise League in 1908, which was committed primarily to obtaining women’s voting rights. She was well versed in international as well as Irish national affairs, and was extremely influential in literary, political, pacifist and feminist circles. As a life-long political activist Skeffington even participated in hunger strikes and was frequently jailed for her ideological beliefs.

In 1900 Irish women, like their counterparts in Great Britain, had very few rights. In a patriarchal society they were often treated as second class citizens. Despite the prevailing circumstances of their wealth or
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At this time, Sheehy-Skeffington was dedicated to her studies receiving her Master of Arts Degree in Modern Languages at the Royal University of Ireland. She was greatly influenced by Emmeline Pankhurst’s English Suffragette movement, which often resorted to violent tactics in the struggle for women’s suffrage. In 1902, Sheehy-Skeffington signed a suffrage petition circulated by women graduates in Britain and Ireland. She then discovered that, despite her qualifications, she was unable to secure more than part-time teaching position, as female teachers were employed on temporary contracts and on low rates of pay. ‘I was amazed and disgusted to learn that I was classed among criminals, infants and lunatics – in fact that my status as a woman was worse than any of these’. Sheehy-Skeffington came to really recognise women’s irrelevancy to the plans of the Westminster parliamentarians. Now, more than ever, she felt it was her moral imperative to flout the traditional laws and radically change the political status of women in
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