Mary Hayden

Published in Issue 5 (September/October), Letters, Volume 22

Sir,—In her interesting article on ‘Women and war in Ireland, 1914–18’ (HI 22.4, July/Aug. 2014) Senia Pasˇeta notes that ‘optimism about post-war prospects for women’ was expressed ‘as early as 1915’ by Edith Somerville. Even earlier, in October 1914, Mary Hayden, Professor of Modern Irish History at UCD, addressed the Irish Women’s Franchise League on ‘Occupations opened to women by the war’. Noting, as men left for the front, possible opportunities for women in professional, clerical, manual and labouring occupations (among which she mentioned tram-conducting and agricultural labour), Hayden argued that women could show their ability to ‘work as well as men’ and concluded optimistically that ‘it could never again be said that women were unfit for’ such positions. Also of interest is that the same Mary Hayden was joint president, with Anna Haslam, of the Irish Women Patrols Committee mentioned later in Paseta’s article, and was recorded as doing voluntary police work in night-time Dublin.—Yours etc.,

JOYCE PADBURY

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