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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


5.4 SOCIOLOGY, Sociology, Demography, Anthropology

Publication Details

Open Library of Humanities, 6(2): 20, pp. 1–45.


This article investigates women’s representation as Northern Ireland (NI) MPs in the House of Commons since 1953. The central argument of the study is that the political and cultural positions dominant at the formation of NI in the early 20th century reverberate through the generations and continue to inform women’s political under-representation today. The article provides an historical context for women’s political and public participation from the 1950s, highlighting the gendered political culture in which this engagement took place. It examines the additional freezing effect of the ethno-national conflict on women’s civic and political involvement from the 1970s–1990s. In terms of women’s Westminster contributions, the article focuses on the period following the 1998 Good Friday/Belfast agreement and details the extent of women’s candidacies in general elections. It highlights their participation in parliamentary voting, and some of the issues to which they have contributed. The study shows the influence of a conservative, gendered political culture on the issues that have engaged women MPs from Northern Ireland. The article concludes that Northern Ireland’s privileging of male power continues to frame the political agendas and work of women MPs.


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