Banshee, Vol. 1, No. 4
Organisation: Irish Women United
Publication: Banshee
Issue:Volume 1, Number 4
Collection:Abortion and reproductive rights
Type:Publication Issue
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Discuss:Comments on this document

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

22nd February 2021

Many thanks to Cllr. Paul Mulville for forwarding this to the Archive.

On the inside front page it notes in answer to the question ‘What is Irish Women United?’:

We are a group of Women’s liberationists who believe that the best perspective for struggle against women’s oppression in Ireland lies in an ongoing fight around the charter of demands printed here. We came together originally in April 1975 as a few individual women interested in the idea of building a conference to discuss a charter; what its demands would be and how a campaign should be built. At this conference on June 8th, attended by approximately 100 women, we constituted ourselves as a separate group, Irish Women United – the only criteria for joining to be agreement on the demands of the charter. Irish Women United works on the basis of general meetings (discussions and action planning, at present every week in Dublin), join actions (e.g. pickets, public meetings, workshops at press present on women in trade unions, contraception, social welfare and political theory) and consciousness-raising groups.

This edition includes information on international struggles and campaigns facing feminists, poetry, information on contraception including the launch of the Contraception Action Programme, calls for reform of adoption laws. The overall theme is Women and Health and this includes histories of women healers, information on ‘self-help health’, maternity hospitals and other issues.

The editorial calls for ‘direct action against daylight sexism. We are attacking sexist advertisements in streets, invading all-male sports places and clubs that discriminate against women members, and disarming second-degree rapists who verbally insult us as we walk in the streets’. One small insight into the difficulties facing campaigning organisations such as Irish Women United is an advertisement which notes that their centre ‘is in very bad repair… please contact us if you have information on the availability of cheap or free carpets, tables, fabrics for curtains and cushions, wood for bookshelves and benches, or emulsion and gloss paints’.

As with other copies of the publication it also has the Charter of Irish Women United reprinted in full on the last page. The main points of the Charter are:

  1. The removal of all legal and bureaucratic obstacles to equality.
  2. Free Legal Contraception
  3. The recognition of motherhood and parenthood as a social function with special provision
  4. Equality in Education – state-financed, secular, co-educational schools with full commjunit control at all levels.
  5. The male rate of the job where men and women are working together.
  6. State provision of funds and premised for the establishment of women’s centres…
  7. The right of all women to a self-determined sexuality.

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