Injustice Against Women Hidden for Too Long

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DUBLIN, Ireland – On paper, Martina Keogh’s life reads like a tragedy – but don’t tell her that. When you meet her in person it’s hard to reconcile the facts of her early life, which included her quasi-legal incarceration in one of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene laundries, with the warm and funny grandmother she is today. I met Martina on a recent trip to Ireland, when she agreed to talk to me about her experiences in one of the slave-labor workhouses operated by the Catholic Church – with an as-yet-unknown degree of government complicity – from 1765 to 1996. [Read more…]

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part 2

Justice for Magdalenes

 Read Part 1 here.  I hear Martina Keogh before I can see her. She’s yelling at her two small dogs, Princess and Tilly, to pipe down and they are happily ignoring her, an interaction that will replay several times over the course of our two-hour conversation. The dogs, plus a two-week-old kitten she’s fostering for the local animal rescue, keep us company that day. Their periodic interruptions—begging for attention, meowing to be fed—relieve some of the darkness of the story I’ve asked Martina to tell. [Read more…]

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part 1

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Me in County Clare, Ireland NOT thinking about women’s rights.

I should preface this post by assuring you that I did not spend the entirety of my Ireland vacation ruminating about international women’s movements and researching Dickensian penal institutions. I had fun! There was road-tripping, and castle-viewing, and the consumption of mountainous piles of fish and chips. However, this being me, and “fun” having many possible definitions, I also set up some meetings so I could interview Irish activists about that country’s feminist movement. My curiosity was piqued last year following the death of Savita Halappanavar [Read more…]