10 Basic Human Rights Denied To Irish Lasses

by Mary Rockcastle

We all know that the women are still battling for our rights, whether it is over our reproductive rights or equal pay. It seems like we have so far to go before we break that glass ceiling; sometimes it can get a little overwhelming. That’s why we like to look back on what we have already accomplished to inspire us and keep us on track. If you’re really looking for some sad stats from women’s history, lets look at 1970s Ireland. Just under 50 years ago in Ireland things looked a lot different, as pointed out by this article in the Irish Central.

In 1970 women in Ireland could not:

1. Keep their jobs in the public service or in a bank once they married.

Women had to give up their jobs when they settled down. That meant no source of income or financial responsibility for themselves, forcing them to rely completely on their husbands to bring home the bacon. 

2. Sit on a jury.

In order to take part in a jury, an Irish citizen had to be a property owner. Women couldn’t legally own property, so they couldn’t inflict justice in court.

3. Buy contraceptives.

According to the 1935 Criminal Law Amendment Act, the import, sale and distribution of contraceptives was illegal. That meant many women were left without contraception, apart from the Pill which was occasionally prescribed as a “cycle regulator.”

4. Drink in a pub.

During the 70s, most pubs didn’t even allow women inside, let alone serve them. No fair! We women need a good ol’ pint every now and again too!

5. Collect their Children’s Allowance.

A legislation introduced in 1944 only permitted the payment of children’s allowances through the father. That’s right, we birth them, feed them, and raise them, but can’t collect the benefits.

6. Get a barring order against a violent partner.

That’s right, there was little to nothing protecting Irish women from abuse in the home during the 70s in Ireland.

7. Own their home outright.

According to Irish Law, women had no right to any property or objects, meaning their husbands could sell their belongings at any time.

8. Refuse to have sex with their husband.

Apparently Irish law didn’t think much of consent, because a husband had every right to have sex with his wife in the eyes of the law.

9. Choose her official place of residence.

After marriage, women were expected to have the same “domicile,” or permanent home, as their husbands.

10. Get the same pay for equal labor

In 1970, the average hourly pay for women was five shillings, while the hourly pay for men was over nine. We’re still working on this one, but at least now legally our minimum wage is the same amongst the sexes.

Well, it’s really clear that it sometimes sucked to be a woman in Ireland in 1970. However, if Ireland can fix all this in less than fifty years, maybe they’re the ones on the fast track to gender equality. 

Photos Courtesy of the New York Times and Irish Central

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.