To examine how things have changed for women in Ireland, Fintan O’Toole, journalist and commentator, compiled 10 things that women could not do in 1970, for the Irish Times. Here’s a brief synopsis.
Women in Ireland could not …
1. Keep their jobs in the public service or in a bank once they married
Women who worked in the civil service had to resign from their jobs when they became wives.
2. Sit on a jury
Any Irish citizen who sat on a jury had to be property owners according to the 1927 Juries Act, thus excluding the majority of women.
3. Buy contraceptives
According to the 1935 Criminal Law Amendment Act, the import, sale and distribution of contraceptives was illegal. As a result the majority of women had no access to contraceptives, apart from the Pill which was sometimes prescribed as a "cycle regulator."
4. Drink in a pub
During the 1970s, most bars refused to allow women to enter a pub. Those who allowed women to enter generally did not serve females pints of beer.
5. Collect their Children’s Allowance
In 1944, the legislation that introduced the payment of child benefits to parents specified they could only be paid to the father.
6. Women were unable to get a restraining order against a violent partner
7. Before 1976 they were unable to own their home outright
According to Irish Law, women had no right to share the family home and her husband could sell their property without her consent.
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8. Women could not refuse to have sex with their husband
A husband had the right to have sex with his wife and consent was not an issue in the eyes of the law.
9. Choose her official place of residence
Once married, a woman was deemed to have the same "domicile" as her husband.
10. Women could not get the same pay for jobs as men
In March 1970, the average hourly pay for women was five shillings, while that for men was over nine. The majority of women were paid less than male counterparts.
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*Originally published in 2013