A major new history website has revealed Northern Ireland’s forgotten women.  A Century of Women, an online resource charting the hidden stories of some of the many remarkable women who helped shape society in the 20th century, was launched in Belfast.  The £10,000 project was funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and was organised by the charity WOMEN’STEC in collaboration with Reclaim the Agenda.

The site profiles more than 60 women who contributed to society from 1900 to 2000 in the worlds of politics, trade unionism, sport and the arts.  The information, which includes individual biographies, historical narrative and video interviews, was compiled by three leading feminist academics and activists, Margaret Ward, Myrtle Hill and Lynda Walker.

The launch was hosted by award-winning writer and broadcaster Susan McKay and featured a panel discussion and Q&A with the three authors.

Project Manager, Lynn Carvill, said the aim of this project was to provide a living educational resource and rich archive material for students, individuals and groups interested in the social, economic, political and cultural contribution of women.

She said: “Women were invisible from the history books because history was written largely by men and we sought to change this.  The strong, independent women featured in A Century of Women have made a major impact on the lives of all of us.  We want to tell the story of their lives and their determination to have their voices heard in a closed, patriarchal society.

“This was a major undertaking that took 18 months of painstaking research to complete. The work completed by Margaret, Myrtle and Lynda is truly impressive.”

Tony McCusker, member of the NI Committee of Heritage Lottery Fund added, “We were thrilled to fund this important heritage project.  Just as they do today, women played a vital role in shaping 20th century society but their stories are overshadowed by the conventional narratives.  This project has drawn out the richness and breadth of women’s contributions across key areas of society.  Through focusing on a small but diverse range of women, the project has sought to highlight the wider role that all women played in our heritage. It is thanks to the players of the National Lottery that we can support projects that we hope will inspire people today and into the future”

The website contains an e-book documenting the history of women and the evolution of the Women’s movement in the North. Content includes the history of the suffrage movement, the role of women in world wars, the women’s rights movement and their contribution to peace-building.

To access A Century of Women go to: http://www.acenturyofwomen.com/