The decision not to categorise female soldiers as soldiers despite their having fought for Irish independence in the 1920s. The decision not to pay them pensions as a result.
The mother and baby homes.
The Magdalene laundries.
The 1937 Constitution which put women in the home.
The marriage bar. The loss of income and pension rights as a result.
The different pay scales for women and men in the civil and public service.
The exile of Edna O’Brien.
Telling the Parliament that the first female police service recruits shouldn’t be too horse faced and that they should not be targets for marriage.
Symphysiotomy being introduced after it had fallen of out favour in most other countries.
Male only jury service.
The seizure of state run social services, including schools and hospitals, by religious orders loyal to another state.
The Irish Women’s Liberation Movement taking the train to buy condoms.
Mary McGee taking the state to court to buy condoms.
The eighth amendment.
Joanne Hayes and the Kerry babies scandal.
A, B and C v Ireland.
Terminations For Medical Reasons.
NP being kept alive despite being braindead and liquifying because the foetus inside her had a heartbeat.
The women passing illegal abortion pills into the hands of women minding their children.
The lack of anatomy scans because ‘What can you do anyway?’
The lack of a right to informed consent during pregnancy.
The 2002 referendum in which the Government wanted to do away with the right of suicidal women to abortions in Ireland.
The 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act where women who have abortions where their lives aren’t at risk face a jail term of 14 years.
Being told we’re all going to die as a reason to deny women autonomy.
The marches for choice.
I came very late to the repeal movement. I was antichoice for a large portion of my younger years. I was wrong. I was judgmental. I didn’t know just how much the Irish state has tried to keep us quiet. When you grow up somewhere that has a religious school system, where most of the population are the same religion and where the state broadcaster plays the catholic call to prayer twice a day any non-conformity can seem shocking.
This week it feels like something has shifted. I don’t know if this is the beginning of the end but I am very hopeful it is the end of a long beginning. Reading about the women who went before me is humbling. I admire their resolve and strength, and I don’t know how they didn’t spend a large amount of their time being mad as hell about things.
It will be long and hard and difficult to get to the finish line, but I think of all those who went before us and I take solace from the fact that, in their way, they’ve chipped away at some of the stoney silence around women’s rights and human rights in Ireland. And I thank them for that.