Constance Markiewicz’s landslide victory in the 1918 elections was a pivotal moment in history. Not only was she the first woman elected to parliament in the first election in which some women could vote, she also represented the hopes of the electorate for national independence and class equality. How did this sea change come about and what has it meant for women’s lives over the past 100 years?
The aim of the Suffragette Hat Project was to make that period of Irish women’s history accessible and inspiring to women who today live in and around the constituency of St. Patrick’s Ward, Dublin 8, that voted Markiewicz in 1918. In a series of workshops each participant was given materials to make her reflections on these stories through the creation of a personal hat.
100 women took part in the project and on 15th December, they gathered together in style with their hats in the gymnasium of Richmond Barracks. They offered a fine and defiant spectacle as we took our hats off to Madame Markiewicz, the women who got her elected, and the women who continue to follow in her footsteps.