Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 353–375 | Cite as

Women’s equality in Northern Ireland’s transition: intersectionality in theory and place



Women are invisible in mainstream analyses of the Northern Irish conflict. The prodigious literature is uninformed by gender analysis. These absences have discursive and material implications for tackling women’s inequality in a society in transition from armed conflict. Feminist intersectional theory counters and complicates essentialist constructions of identity. It aids understanding of the Northern Irish context by bringing into view issues of gender, sect and class. The tentative intersectional theoretical framework developed in this article is tested in an empirical study of women’s poverty. This supports the argument that intersectional analysis is required if the policy approach to women’s equality in Northern Ireland is to benefit the most marginalised women and thereby improve the prospects of building a more stable and peaceable society.


conflict equality feminism intersectionality Northern Ireland/North of Ireland 


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Support from the Transitional Justice Institute (T.J.I.) of the University of Ulster enabled the research that led to this article as well as mentor support from Professor Joanne Conaghan. I am grateful for her incisive feedback. Thanks also to Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, director T.J.I., and to F.L.S. readers, for critical comment, and to Hilary Bell for editorial guidance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of UlsterNewtownabbey, Co AntrimNorthen Ireland

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