Demanding Women

We don’t have their portraits but we have what they penned, if you can read the Old Irish text. And their purpose was clear. If women had control of all affairs it is certain that things would be more settled and peaceful than they are.

Ireland in the 1690s was a grim place. After being defeated by King William the Irish were plunged into a cultural darkness with the implementation of the draconian Penal Laws. The women of Ireland, fed up with the mess that men had plunged their world into, decided to seize political power themselves, set up their own parliament, and enact their own laws. They formed the Párliament na mBan, the Parliament of Women. They were used to having power and using it. It was their heritage.

The oldest surviving Celtic law system is the Irish Brehon Laws. Established in 714 BC, these laws gave more rights and protection to women than any other western law code at that time or since. It’s been suggested that with regard to women’s rights, Irish women are struggling to regain what was true for their ancesstresses fifteen hundred years ago. For the women of the Párliament na mBan this was their heritage and they demanded a rightful voice and place in the affairs of their country.

This past week thousands of our Israeli and Palestinian sisters came together in the Women Wage Peace movement to demand their voices be heard. In January of this year hundreds of thousands of women marched to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.

As horrific atrocities continue to unfold in this country and around the world, we stand on the shoulders of our ancesstresses. We stand rooted in our heritage. We stand as demanding women.

Judith –


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