Home | Contact NUI  


21 April 2024  

International Women’s Day - March 8, 2021


The Charter of the National University of Ireland, granted in 1908, provides that ‘Women shall be eligible equally with men to be Members of the University or of any Authority of the University, and to hold any office or enjoy any of the advantages of the University’. NUI thus became the first university in Ireland to guarantee women ‘the full academic and employment equality for which they had been campaigning for over forty years’ (Paseta, 2008, p. 30).

Today on International Women’s Day 2021, NUI is pleased to honour Professor Mary Hayden.

Professor Mary Hayden

Professor Mary Hayden

Mary Hayden graduated from the Royal University in 1885 with a BA in Modern Languages and an MA in 1887. She was the only woman member of the first Senate of the National University of Ireland and remained a senator until 1924. In 1911, she was appointed Professor of History at University College Dublin, a position she held for 27 years.

She was a prominent member of the Irish Women's Suffrage and Local Government Association and campaigned ardently for women’s rights. As a founding member of the Irish Association of Women Graduates and Candidate Graduates, she championed the inclusion and wider participation of women in higher education. She fought, along with Agnes O’Farrelly and others, for the appointment of women to university teaching positions, which ultimately influenced the provision in the Charter of the National University of Ireland, granted in 1908.

Mary Hayden Irish Historian and Feminist 1862-1942

Mary Hayden Irish Historian and Feminist 1862-1942

The first full-length study of Mary Hayden was published in 2020: Joyce Padbury’s Mary Hayden: Irish Historian and Feminist, 1862-1942 (Arlen House).

At a time when many would argue that much still remains to be done to achieve true equality for women within the university, NUI was very pleased to have supported (through the NUI Grant towards Scholarly Publication) this important biography of a woman who to a considerable extent made this her life’s cause and in her time achieved significant gains for women.

Senia Pašeta, ‘Women in the National University of Ireland’ in Tom Dunne, John Coolahan, Maurice Manning and Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh (eds), The National University of Ireland 1908-2008 Centenary Essays (Dublin: UCD Press, 2008), pp 19-32.

NUI is also pleased to highlight that this month, the Women’s History Association of Ireland are hosting an online conference: Besieged bodies: Gendered violence, sexualities and Motherhood each Friday in March. For further details and registration see: https://womenshistoryassociation.com/whai-conference-2020-2021/




#ChooseToChallenge  #IWD2021



« Previous