Do some Women ‘Choose’ to Remain/Become Subservient to their Men?

I have watched the first two episodes of the TV programme ‘The State’ on Channel 4 television. The violence and brutality I find hard to watch. However I have persevered and what intrigues me is why emancipated women would choose to become subservient to their man?

The history of female emancipation in western culture has continued for over 200 years. The beginnings of that struggle has been dated from the publication of Mary Wollstonecroft’s ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ in 1792. This was a reaction to the legal reality  that a single women had little protection under the law, and married women lost their legal identity upon marriage. Women couldn’t retain a lawyer, sign a contract, inherit property, vote, or have rights over their children.

“The husband and wife are one person in law; that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection and cover, she performs every thing.” This was written by Oxford law professor William Blackstone in his influential Commentaries on the Laws of England  in 1758.

In Ireland the beginnings of the right to vote for some women started in 1898.

‘The story of women’s participation in local government dates back to the late nineteenth century and the passage of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898. Under this Act, women were granted the right to vote and stand in election for the first time. As Crossman (1994) notes in her book Local Government in Nineteenth-Century Ireland, local government was the scene for some early successes by the Irish suffragist movement, with the first elections in 1899 returning thirty-one women district councillors and eighty-five women as poor law guardians’. Crossman, V. (1994). Local government in nineteenth-century Ireland. Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies.

Whilst some women (and men) have had the right to vote in local elections in Ireland since that time, power in Irish elected politics has remained to a major extent the domain of men. The 5050 group has campaigned, through the use of candidate quotas, to redress that gender imbalance. In the main I have not encountered the attitude that women are inferior to men. However having watched this TV programme I am wondering what motivates an emancipated women to seek to become subservient to their men? Perhaps I am being naive about the push back that occurs, with some women seeking to reverse, what is considered to be a human right for all women?

Gender Quotas and the 2016 General Election

The 5050 group were delighted to attend the conference in UCC on the 28th November 2016 on the impact of the Gender Quotas on the 2016 GE. There was a terrific line up of speakers and they did not disappoint.
In the morning session we heard about the complexity of our electoral system and the extent to which the political parties are the main gate keepers to whom the electorate can choose. We are used to geographical quotas with constituencies and therefore quotas are not completely new. The gender quota is an important addition.
Polling after the GE found that the majority of voters were in favour of gender quotas if it meant adding a greater gender balance to the ballot paper.
In the afternoon we heard from the courageous people who were willing to put themselves forward for election. Some got through and some did not. They spoke very candidly about how difficult it was being the first election in which the quotas applied and the fallout from that. Making that experience a less difficult one is an ambition for the future. If democracy is to flourish then standing as a candidate should not be a traumatic experience.

Well done to everyone involved and a special thank you to 5050 member Dr Fiona Buckley for being the inspiration for the conference.