How Gaelic Irish Women Exercised Agency in Early Modern Ireland, 1400-1700
With the increasing presence of the English government in Ireland during the Early Modern Period, the history of Gaelic Irish women is often left untold. These women were a part of everyday life and yet their narratives have often been framed to contextualize the stories of men, if they are indeed mentioned at all. This paper explores how Gaelic Irish women were able to exert agency in various aspects of their lives including marriage, labour, and leadership. From dowries and property rights to brief mentions of women stepping into leadership roles outside traditional gender norms, this paper aims to examine important junctures of Gaelic Irish women’s lives and whether or not it can be said that they were true agents of their situations, or simply conforming to the patriarchal societal expectations. As many saw the Gaelic Irish culture vanishing, these women left their mark on history with deeds not documented yet crucial to the fabric of society.
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