Anna Haslam

This is a great little bio-piece from the National Archives telling the story of one of the most inspiring political reformers in Irish history. Quakers, though small in number on this island, were at the forefront of women’s suffrage, anti-racism campaigns, international abolitionism, and many other progressive causes.

Haslam was president of the Irish Women’s Suffrage and Local Government Association. She worked across political and religious divisions for the betterment of all women in Ireland.

“Anna Haslam, though herself unionist in sympathy, actively encouraged women of all political and religious affiliations to join. Members with well-known nationalist sympathies included Jennie Wyse Power of the Sinn Féin executive, Mary Hayden, professor of Irish History at UCD, and the future founders of the militant Irish Women’s Franchise League, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and Margaret Cousins.”

The political scene was changing rapidly after the 1916 Rising and the reorganisation of Sinn Féin in 1917 as the party of separatist nationalists… In the 1918 election, Anna Haslam finally cast her vote after more than forty years of suffrage activism…. Despite the high political tension and different political allegiances, suffragists of all political hues, unionist, Irish Parliamentary Party and Sinn Féin, gathered to cheer her and present her with a bouquet of flowers in suffrage colours.”

I encourage anyone interested in building a more progressive, peaceful, and reconciled Ireland to return again to history, and publicly celebrate the many examples of courage, peace-building, and leadership.

Many thanks to UC Cork for the image.

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