How can Irish women help the war effort?
A young girl in Co. Clare defends her home from the threat of war as part of the war effort at home. Photo: Irish Life, 4 September 1914. Full collection of Irish Life available in the National Library of Ireland.

How can Irish women help the war effort?

Published: 11 August 1914

The Irish Times has written today about the role of women in Ireland during the war as many men depart for the continent. The paper writes that for the women left at home the only remedy for heart-sickness is campaign work. ‘Women cannot fight but their duty is to help the fighters. Irishwomen owe a deep gratitude to those who in every circumstance of hardship and danger are defending Irish freedom and Irish homes.’

The paper recommends women make provisions of clothing, food and other comforts for the sailors and soldiers. In the event the war spreads to Ireland women trained in ambulance work and as nurses can help there too. ‘No woman will be able to find an excuse for idleness in the fact that she cannot give money and cannot sew, and is too old to visit or do ambulance work. Every woman, young and old, can do work for Ireland in her own household. There never was a time when efficiency of domestic management was a more urgent duty to the state than it is today.’ The Irish Times also draws attention to the new breed of athletic and independent women, as the land is already drained of manhood at this early stage in war these women may be called on to work in the fields or the post office.

The paper concludes by saying;

‘We must not conceal from ourselves the possibility that this war may be prolonged and arduous, that it may cost us much in life and money, that the ultimate triumph of our arms may depend not merely on the skill and bravery of our navy and army, but on the patriotism and self-sacrifice of every citizen - man and woman. We appeal to the women of Ireland not only for the courage which has never failed them but for hard work, for organised effort, for practical sympathy with need and suffering, for a high example in public and private life. So, their husbands, brothers and sons be proud of them when all is done.’

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.