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The Women of 1916War is normally spoken of in the exclusively masculine sense – particularly by those with no experience of combat. Historical accounts of war tend to describe conflict almost solely in terms of male participation as combatants - thus reinforcing the myth of combat as an exclusively male preserve.
In a similar vein – despite the de facto role that women have always played in war and combat - the current debate around our commemoration of the Easter Rising consists of a highly gendered discussion on reclaiming a legitimate remembrance of this problematic event from certain ‘men’ of violence who would no doubt purport to trace a direct lineage to the ‘men’ of 1916 or even the ‘men’ of 1798.
The almost uniform references in this debate to the ‘men’ of 1916 masks the direct role – as combatants - that women played in the liberation of the state. In the current debate on the true meaning of the impending 1916 commemoration ceremonies, it is imperative - for our fullest understanding of the true significance of the Easter Rising - to acknowledge the role that women played in it.
Clonan, T., (2006): The Forgotten Role of Women Insurgents in The 1916 Rising, The Irish Times.