The Irish Abortion Referendum Is A Chance To Change A Culture Of Shame

This week, Ireland faces a vote on a change to the constitution that would allow for the introduction of a more liberal abortion regime. At present, abortion is only legal in cases where there is a “real and substantial” risk to the woman’s life, including from suicide.

First published by the Huffington Post on 22nd May 2018. Read the full article here.

Women’s History and the Politics of Shame in Ireland

This year, women’s history month opened in Ireland with revelations of a mass-grave containing infant remains at a former institution for single mothers. Excavations by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation confirmed what local historian, Catherine Corless, had long suspected: the grounds of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home contain “significant quantities of human remains” in underground chambers.

First published by the Blog of the APA on 2nd August 2017. Read the article here.

We baulk at Tuam but ignore plight of today’s lone parents

This week a UN Committee published a major report on Ireland’s record on women’s human rights. For the first time in a decade, the Irish State had been examined under CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). The outcome of that process is a wide range of recommendations designed to redress significant shortcomings in the protection of women’s human rights in Ireland. 

First published by the Irish Times on 9th March 2017. Read the article here.

Noonan has chance to end Ireland’s anti-women budgets

Budget 2017 will be unveiled tomorrow. In March next year Ireland’s performance on the protection of women’s human rights will be assessed by the United Nations. The former will have a direct effect on the latter. 

First published by the Irish Times on 10th October 2016. Read the article here.

Callous lone parent cuts should be reviewed as economy picks up

This week, lone parents were subject to the last of a series of cuts to welfare payments that supplemented their part-time, low-paid employment. Introduced by the Minister for Social Protection since Budget 2012, the policy of switching off One-Parent Family Payment for lone parents with children aged seven was originally decided on mid-crisis and in the context of a wider policy approach that prescribed austerity as a means of redressing Ireland's economic woes.

First published by the Irish Times on 3rd July 2015. Read the article here.

Attracta Ingram in Conversation with Clara Fischer

Why did you get into philosophy and how?

I was a child of the sixties, and everybody was reading philosophy – of some sort. You read philosophy on the bus, you read existentialist novels, so there was a cultural “in” so to speak, and it was very easy to move from that into philosophy. The other things I wanted to do: I wanted to do medicine quite strongly at that stage, but I already had a child and I was advised that there was no way I could do medicine and look after a child so, reluctantly, I didn’t do it. Philosophy was the other thing, and I haven’t regretted it. It’s been a wonderful ride.

Published on the SWIP-I Blog on 9th November 2015. Read the complete interview here.

From disgust to love with the Irish marriage equality referendum

This Friday, people in the Republic of Ireland will be asked to amend article 41 of the Constitution, permitting marriage to "be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex." If successful, a Yes vote in this referendum will constitute the first time any state has introduced marriage equality by popular vote - no mean feat given that homosexuality wasn't decriminalised in Ireland until 1993.

Published by the Huffington Post on 21st May 2015. Read the full article here.

On not being smart enough

"During my early beginnings as a graduate student, I did not realise that the kinds of treatment I received had a name: sexism. I began to learn that much of what was happening to me was about me as a woman (not as a person or a philosopher) and that it was caused by overt and covert sexism at both personal and institutional levels."

First published by Dublin Review of Books on 1st March 2015. Read the full article here

Doing something about women in philosophy

This month, the Society for Women in Philosophy Ireland (SWIP-I) will host a conference on the topic of Women’s Bodies with the support of the Irish Research Council. The conference is the third of its kind in Ireland, the organisation having been launched in July 2010, and, with over 45 speakers, also the largest to date. There will be presentations on topics such as surrogacy, pregnancy, beauty norms, reproductive rights, and sexual violence, delivered by emerging scholars, as well as by established philosophers. Given the significant interest the conference has already generated among speakers and attendants, one might ask what appeal such gatherings might hold and why.

First published on the SWIP-I blog on 19th November here.


Has Women's Thought Been Devalued?

Philosophy stands accused of being the most chauvinistic branch of the humanities, with a 5:1 ratio of men to women.

Interview with Joe Humphreys published in the Irish Times on 18th November 2014. Read the complete interview here.


Abortion in Ireland: Some Considerations for Non-Extremists

Last month, Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, stated that the problem with the abortion debate in Ireland is that it is dominated by the extremes, that is, by those on the anti-choice and the pro-choice sides, or by the "Catholic versus anti-Catholic view of things." Such assertions of extremism in Ireland have surface time and again, perhaps themselves forming a dominant narrative that conflates opponents to abortion in monist, if not all, circumstances on the one hand, with proponents of a more liberal regime.

First published on on 13th October 2014. Read the full article here.

In Irish budgets some are more equal than others

The Government is, this week, finalising another budget that will have wide-ranging implications for people’s lives and wellbeing. Sadly, however, the budget will not include an assessment of its likely impact on specific members of our society, nor will it explicitly focus on the equality and human rights dimensions of cuts and tax increases.

First published by the Irish Times on 14th October 2013. Read the complete article here.

Patricia hill collins in conversation

On Wednesday, March 20, UCD Women’s Studies hosts renowned sociologist, Prof. Hill Collins for a  public lecture entitled ‘Where do we go from here? Intersectionality and Social Justice’. Prof. Hill Collins specialises in critical race theory and feminist theory, and is perhaps best known for her work on intersectionality, that is, the notion that people are often subject to multiple and mutually reinforcing disadvantages based on gender, race, or class, for instance. Below, Prof. Hill Collins discusses some of the key themes of her work.

CF: You have spent many years as an educator, scholar and activist exploring issues of social justice and inequality. How would you describe the relationship between grass-roots activism outside of the academy and change-making within academia?

PHC: I just published a book titled On Intellectual Activism where I take up these themes in depth. In a nutshell, the ties linking grassroots activism and the academy were much closer during periods of social movement activism than they are now. Universities are increasingly run like businesses, and do not see themselves in the business of addressing social justice themes, unless those themes can be recast in light of a particular university’s business model. This creates new challenges for social justice activists both inside and outside universities. I address these themes in my book On Intellectual Activism, especially in the Introduction where I make a distinction between speaking the truth to power and speaking the truth to people. Both forms of truth telling can occur both inside and outside the academy.

Originally published by on 19th March 2013. Read the full interview here