The role of women in conflict making and peacemaking in “The Troubles”: A study of Northern Irish Women

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Northern Ireland’s troubled past has been subjected to a vast amount of historical analysis. The role of women in the Northern Ireland Civil War, both as conflict makers and peace makers has however been neglected and minimized. The lack of emphasis or importance placed on the role of women, both in paramilitary roles as well as in peace-keeping roles is obvious and unsettling. Analysis of this time period focuses heavily on the role of key politicians such as previous Democratic Unionist Party (D.U.P.) leader Ian Paisley and Nationalist party Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, as well as the actions of the numerous paramilitary groups. Two areas where this gap seems most prominent are in analysis of female political prisoners and in recognizing the importance of cross-community action taken by women in a highly segregated community such as this. I aim to rectify this through an analysis of policy, media dialogue and oral history. This research will advance study of social justice in a Northern Ireland context by focusing on an area that has largely been missing in the quest for Civil Rights for Catholics as well as equality for women in a segregated community, where what community you belong to becomes the priority.

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