About Us

The Women’s History Association of Ireland (WHAI) is thirty years old in 2019. The precursors to the WHAI were the Feminist History Forum set up in Dublin in 1987, the Society for the History of Women (SHOW) set up by postgraduate students in UCD in 1988, with the Irish committee of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History also set up in 1989 in order to participate in the 1990 conference of the Federation in Madrid [1]

This led to the foundation of the Irish Association for Research in Women’s History, this organisation was renamed the Women’s History Association of Ireland (WHAI) and still plays a prominent and active role in the development of women’s history in Ireland today.

The first President of the WHAI was Mary Cullen, a founder of the discipline in Ireland, and the first conference was held in Belfast in 1989, the second in Dublin in 1990.

The aim of the WHAI is to promote research into the history of women in Ireland, to bring together scholars in Irish women’s history, to recognise excellence in research and to promote public engagement with women’s history in an Irish context.

One of the its achievements was The Women’s History Project which began work in September 1997 and completed its Directory of Sources in 1999. The aim of the Project was to survey, list and publish historical documents relating to the history of women in Ireland and it was managed by a committee appointed by the WHAI [2]

The WHAI has continued to support scholars at all stages of their career and in all kinds of institutions (academic and cultural) in addition to independent scholars. We have made it a policy to have all events and awards open to as wide an audience as possible: the Anna Parnell travel grant is open to all; most of our events (apart from the annual conference) have no fee attached to them and are open to all, and there is a reduced rate for those who are unemployed, retired or with a low income; the committee has consistently had one or more members who are independent scholars or representatives from cultural institutions; any member, regardless of academic affiliation, can do a book review; anyone can apply to speak at the annual conference or other events, regardless of academic affiliation; and finally, we regularly advertise events/books created by scholars outside of academic institutions.

Our Executive Committee is comprised of President, Secretary, Treasurer, International Secretary and ordinary members, and since 2016, a Web Officer and Membership Secretary. We also have a place on the Executive Committee for a member of the independent scholar community.

The WHAI is a community for those interested in women’s history in all time periods and we continue to welcome feedback on our activities.

[1] Mary Cullen, ‘Women’s History in Ireland’, in Karen Offen, Ruth Roach Pierson and Jane Rendall, (eds.) Writing Women’s History: International Perspectives, Macmillan: Houndmills, 1991, pp.429-442, page 430.

[2] http://www.nationalarchives.ie/wh/whp.html accessed 03/02/08.

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