Women’s History Month: Constance Markievicz

Women’s History Month: Constance Markievicz

For our fourth and final blog celebrating Women’s History Month and Irish-American Heritage Month, we are celebrating famed Irish revolutionary, socialist, political, suffragette Countess Constance Markievicz.

As one of the leading figures of the Irish revolutionary period (1914-1923), there is no shortage of information about Markievicz’s life, work, and philosophy. Born in London in 1868, she first got her taste for political life as an active suffragette in Co. Sligo. She was born to a very privileged lifestyle, but eventually became a strong advocate for the working-class poor of Dublin.

Markievicz adopted Irish republican ideology around 1908 and very quickly became involved in socialist labor politics and Irish republican revolutionary sentiment. She later joined the Irish Citizen’s Army and fought as a commander in the Easter Rising of 1916. Imprisoned as a leader and sentenced to death, her sentenced was commuted on the basis of her gender. 

She served several prison sentences throughout her political activism and was elected as the first woman Member of Parliament in 1918. Due to her political beliefs, she refused to take her seat. Throughout the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) and the Irish Civil War (1922-23) she remained a staunch anti-Treaty republican. She served as Minister for Labour in the first Dáil Éireann (Irish parliament) and later served several political seats.

Throughout her life she worked tirelessly for women’s suffrage, labor rights, and the poor. Elected to her final parliamentary seat in 1927 as a representative for Fianna Fáil but died just a month after the election.

Her legacy in Irish history and politics is profound, and she is a celebrated historical figure, particularly with her active role in the Easter Rising and violent republicanism. She faced strong cultural backlash and criticism for her gender and attire (she often dressed in military garb). Madam Markievicz fought for her beliefs and believed strongly that women deserved a seat at every table. For that reason, and many others, we saw fit to celebrate her on our blog this month.

Read more about her here.

That’s a wrap on our Women’s History Month blogs for this year – keep an eye out for exciting new content!

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