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Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement

Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement

“We believe that the struggle for women’s rights is an integral part of the struggle for human rights, which will result in a society in which women and men are released from crude stereotypes and limited ideas of what they are, and may be.” (Quote from the NIWRM Charter). The Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement (NIWRM) was founded during International Women’s Year in 1975 at a Queen’s University film festival by a group of feminists including Lynda Walker and Bronagh Hinds. It was committed to building a non-sectarian movement that aimed to unite women from across the divide by challenging the broader issues that affected all women, namely inequality and discriminatory social attitudes.
In 1975, the movement published a ‘Women’s Charter for Northern Ireland’ which reflected their key pledges and demands. These demands incorporated equal opportunities, equal pay, equality of legal and social rights, maternity rights, improved childcare provisions and reformed family planning services. Working in solidarity with other women-centred organisations at the time, they organised rallies, demonstrations, campaigns, research projects, pressure groups and local actions. By 1979, both Bronagh Hinds and Lynda Walker opened the first Women’s Centre in Northern Ireland to serve as an advice service and resource and information centre on women’s issues. Initially based in Belfast, other centres were soon established elsewhere to accommodate and support more women including in Derry/Londonderry, the Falls Road and Ballybeen. 

This extensive collection contains meeting minutes, posters, flyers, reports, correspondence, news clippings, questionnaires, petitions, and publications relating to the Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement, as well as material collected by the organisation relating to various women’s issues. Such further material includes reports and leaflets from LGBTQ+ organisation ‘Cara-Friend’ and children’s organisation NIPPA (Northern Ireland Preschool Playgroup Association). Dating from 1974, a year prior to the foundation of the NIWRM reaching until the millennium, the archive charts the organisation, motivation, and scope of the women’s group.

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