Conference on Women and Conflict

Women and Conflict: from 1916 to the Good Friday Agreement

A one-day conference at the Helix, Dublin City University, Wed 13th April 2016

The aim of the conference is to examine the contested themes around the relationship of women and feminism to political violence, in the context of the commemoration of 1916. It will explore the radical contribution of the women who took part in the 1916 Rising and of those women who were drawn into political activism in its aftermath. It will discuss the legacy of that activism for the development of the Irish state. It will also acknowledge the activism and views of those women who opposed the Rising from diverging perspectives. It will develop these themes and focus on the relationship between women’s engagement with political violence and its impact on achieving progressive political, economic, and social rights for women. It asks what is the relationship between nationalism, political violence and feminism? Is nationalism inherently anti-feminist and does conflict in all circumstances retard women’s progress? These themes are also a key part of the modern debate on the relationship between gender, conflict and peace building and these linkages will be explored through a discussion of the role of gender in the Good Friday Agreement and the impact of the gendered nature of the conflict on the formulation of the peace process. The conference will conclude with a discussion of the relevance of the Irish case, from 1916 to the Good Friday Agreement, for current debates on gender and violent conflicts, exemplified by UNSCR 1325 (2000) and current EU initiatives.

If you are interested in attending the conference, please register here or contact us at [email protected]


9.30: Registration and coffee

10.15-10.30: Welcome address by Professor John Doyle (Director Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction)

10.30-12.30: Women in 1916: Activism and Legacy

  • Women of the rebel army, 1916: class background and role, Dr Ann Mathews (Historian, author and playwright)
  • Transgressing gender roles: women and the 1916 rebellion , Dr Leeann Lane (DCU)
  • Irish nationalist girl scouts before and after 1916, Dr Marnie Hay (DCU)
  • The legacy of women’s engagement in 1916, Dr Eileen Connolly (DCU)
  • Chair: Susan Saunders (Society of Friends)

12.30-13.30: Lunch break

13.30 – 15.15: Panel Discussion: From 1916 to the Good Friday Agreement, debating gender, nationalism and conflict

  • Dr Robin Whitaker (Memorial University of Newfoundland, also member of the Women’s Coalition and was involved in the negotiation of the Good Friday agreement)
  • Bronagh Hinds (Peace Activist and founder member of the Women’s Coalition and was involved in the negotiation of the Good Friday agreement)
  • Catriona Ruane (Sinn Fein Assembly Member and former Minister of Education)
  • Noeleen Reilly (Sinn Fein Councillor for Dublin City Council)
  • Chair: Dr Donnacha Ó Beacháin (DCU)

15.15-15.30: Coffee break

15.30-17.00: Panel Discussion: Conflict and Gender, the international debates

  • Dr Maura Conway (Voxpol)
  • Dr Ken McDonagh (DCU)
  • Dr Maria-Adriana Deiana (DCU)
  • Chair: Dr James Fitzgerald  (DCU)

17.00:  Closing remarks by Professor Gary Murphy (School of Law and Government DCU)

17.00-18.00: Wine Reception and viewing a copy of the ‘77 Women Commemoration Quilt’


E.Connolly Eileen Connolly

Dr Eileen Connolly is Director of the Ireland India Institute (DCU). She also leads the Gender and Political Transition research cluster within DCU’s Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction. Her recent publications include ‘Ripe moments for exiting political violence: An analysis of the Northern Ireland case’ (Irish Studies in International Affairs, 2015); ‘Contested borders and women’s political representation in former soviet states: parliamentary elections in Georgia and Abkhazia’ (Studies of Transition States and Societies, 2015); ‘Parliaments as gendered institutions: The Irish Oireachtas’ (Irish Political Studies, 2013).

m. conway Maura Conway

Dr Conway is currently working on tracing extremist networks on Twitter; developing an ontology of violent online political extremist material (Onto-X); and content and sentiment analysis of the contributions to a major extreme Right online forum. She is the Principal Investigator on a EU Framework Programme 7 (FP7) Network of Excellence in violent online political extremism, entitled VOX-Pol, launched in January 2014. She has a particular interest in gender and online political extremism. Dr Conway serves as an editorial board member for the journals Media, War, & Conflict and Irish Studies in International Affairs. In addition to her position as Vice-Chair of the International Affairs Committee of the Royal Irish Academy, is a past-Chair (2011–2012) of the International Studies Association’s (ISA) International Communication Section.

ma. deiana Maria-Adriana Deiana

Dr Maria-Adriana is a research fellow in DCU. Her area of expertise lies at the intersection of international politics, conflict and gender studies. She has conducted research that critically investigates processes of conflict transformation in Northern Ireland and the Former Yugoslavia with a focus on feminist activism and other spaces for grassroots mobilisation. Her research interests include theoretical debates on citizenship; the tensions between gender, ethnicity and nationalism; dynamics of conflict transformation and peacebuilding. She published ‘Women’s Citizenship in Northern Ireland after the 1998 Agreement’ (Irish Political Studies, 2013). With R. Goldie, in 2012, they both published ‘Survivors in Peace: Government Response in Meeting the Needs of Survivors of Serious Physical Injury and Sexual Assault during Conflict, as a Legacy for Northern Ireland and Bosnia’ (International Journal of Peace Studies).

j. fitzgerald James Fitzgerald

Dr. James Fitzgerald is Lecturer in Terrorism Studies at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University and co-convenor of the Critical Studies on Terrorism Working Group. His current research interests include: everyday resistances to (counter)terrorism; the political ontology of terrorism; and exploring (in)orthodoxies of “academic writing” and the types of knowledge produced thereof.

m. hay Marnie Hay

Dr Marnie Hay specialises in nineteenth and twentieth-century Irish history, with particular emphasis on the histories of the Irish Cultural Revival, the Irish Revolution, and Children and Childhood.  Her present research examines Irish nationalism and youth in the early twentieth century and she is currently writing a monograph on the nationalist youth organisation Na Fianna Éireann in the period 1909-23, which will be published by Manchester University Press. She is a founding member of the History of Irish Childhood Research Network, a committee member of the Irish Society for the Study of Children’s Literature (ISSCL), and a former academic director of the Parnell Summer School (2011-12).

b. hinds Bronagh Hinds

Bronagh Hinds was a founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, and was involved in negotiation of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. She is former Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. Bronagh is a Member of the Local Government Staff Commission and a partner in the Women in Local Councils initiative to advance women in local government. She sits on the Gender Advisory Panel of the Office of the First and deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland. Bronagh is currently a consultant with interests in equality, democracy and governance and a Senior Associate with DemocraShe and she has engaged in development and peace-building initiatives with Iraqis, Liberians, Timorese, and Columbians. She sits on the Board of the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation and the Joint Management Committee of the Irish Peace Centres.  Bronagh co-authored: ‘Affirmative Action in Northern Ireland’, Race and Inequality: World Perspectives on Affirmative Action, Ashgate Press, 2006; Checks, Balances and Safeguards in local government; and Women and the Review of Public Administration, both in 2005 and available on

 l. leane Leeann Lane

Dr. Leeann Lane is an expert on women’s history in the twentieth century and the Irish revolutionary period. In 2010, she published a biographyRosamond Jacob: Third Person Singular (UCD Press), which received many accolades, with one reviewer in the Journal of British Studiesdescribing it as ‘feminist historiography at its finest’. Since 2012, she is a member of the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations, a group of eleven Irish historians brought together in the context of the centenary period.

a. mathews Ann Mathews

Ann Matthews is a historian and playwright. She is the author of The Irish Citizen Army (1914); Dissidents, Irish Republican Women 1923-1941(2012); Renegades Irish Republican Women 1900-1922 (2010); The Kimmage Garrison 1916: Making Billy Can-Bombs at Larkfield (2010). She has contributed to The Journal of Irish Military History and The Irish Archive Journal. She has also contributed chapters to The Impact of the 1916 Rising: Among the Nations (Ruan O Donnell, ed. 2008) and Associational Culture in Ireland and Abroad (Jennifer Kelly R.V Comerford, eds. 2010).

k.mcdonagh Ken McDonagh

Kenneth McDonagh is a Lecturer in International Relations at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University. His research interests include EU security, Foreign policy and Identity, US Foreign policy, Counter-terrorism and security discourse, and the politics of risk in international security governance. Ken was awarded an Irish Research Council New Horizons Research Project Starter Grant of €99,178.31 to investigate how European Union Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions have impacted on gender relations in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzgovina.

d.ocbeachain Donnacha Ó Beacháin

Donnacha Ó Beacháin is Director of Research at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University (DCU) where he lectures on post-Soviet politics, Irish studies and foreign policy.  He is a lead researcher in the 3.6 million euro FP7/Marie Curie Initial Training Network in Post-Soviet Tensions (2013-2017). He is also lead researcher in the 3.8 million euro Horizon2020 project on the Caspian region. The consortium, involving 19 partners, is led by the IICRR. His current interests are within the region of Abkhazia and Transnistria and he has written two reports evaluating electoral politics in these unrecognised states.


n. reilly Noeleen Reilly

Noeleen Reilly, member of Sinn Féin since 2000, was elected to Dublin City Council for the Ballymun Ward as councillor on the first count in May 2014. She has since been elected a member to the Economic Development and Enterprise and Finance and Emergency Services Strategy Policy Committees. As well as Ballymun Civic Alliance she also sits on the Ballymun/Whitehall Partnership, Ballymun Drugs task force, Axis Community Arts Resource Centre, Dublin City Council Audit Committee and North East Regional Health Forum. She was recently elected chair of the Health Services committee for North Eastern committee. She has also been an activist in many community projects. At the moment she is treasurer of Ballymun Tidy Towns.

c.ruane Catriona Ruane

Caitríona Ruane, a native of Mayo, has been Sinn Fein assembly representative for South Down since 2003. Caitríona was appointed Minister for Education in 2007 where she led the badly needed reform of the education system.  Between 1983 and 1987 she worked in Central America  (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras) as an international aid worker. Upon her return to Ireland she worked with Trócaire, before founding a human rights Centre in West Belfast. Caitríona was an international observer in the elections which saw Nelson Mandela elected President of South Africa. She was the director of Féile an Phobail, a founder of St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Belfast. In 2000 President Mary McAleese presented Caitríona with the Aisling Person of the Year Award. She is now the Sinn Féin Chief whip and a member of the Policing Board.

s.saunders Sue Saunders

Sue is a Human Givens Practitioner, a Fellow of the Human Givens Institute, and a member of the HGI Board. She has applied the human givens approach in both her private practice and with groups, giving courses and presentations to businesses, educators, parents, students, and health professionals on topics as diverse as exam preparation, parenting, team-working and management both on site and at the Dublin Human Givens Centre. She is a member of Monkstown Meeting where she is currently an overseer and also member of the Dublin MM and Ireland YM Peace Committees.

r.whitaker Robin Whitaker

Dr Robin Whitaker is a Associate Professor in Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. Her PhD fieldwork in Northern Ireland coincided with the start of the peace talks that led to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. She became a member of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC) and was one of the NIWC team at the peace talks. She was also a press officer for the Women’s Coalition in several Northern Ireland Assembly elections. Her current research projects address debates about a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland and Newfoundland migrant labour in the Republic of Ireland.

To commemorate the forgotten women of the Rising, Zrazy Music release new single ‘National Anthem- Women of ’16’ in aid of Focus Ireland Homeless Charity. Download track and donate HERE.

Previous Post
Major Irish Research Council funding award for IICRR Lecturer
Next Post
IICRR Holds Conference on Women and 1916