Gendering Constitutional Change in Northern Ireland: Participation, Processes and Power

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Constitutions reflect national values and set out the foundational principles of governance. Traditionally, those values and principles have been male defined. As such, constitutions often form the basis of the ‘gendered state’ with all its attendant inequities. Feminist constitutionalism challenges the wider domain of constitution-making to consider questions relating to gender inequality in constitutional debate, design and redesign. Through a case study approach, this article utilises a feminist lens to examine on-going constitutional debates in Northern Ireland that have been deepened by Brexit. Any new constitutional arrangements on the island of Ireland will drive multiple transformations in social, legal and economic life that will impact on the lives of women. Subsequently, this article explores the gender dynamics of current debates to contribute to the broader feminist literature on constitutional transitions in deeply divided societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPolitical Studies
Early online date10 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 10 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The article is an output from two broader projects funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Irish unity
  • Gender inclusion
  • Participatory democracy
  • Feminist Constitutionalism
  • feminist constitutionalism
  • participation
  • Irish unification
  • gender inclusion
  • divided societies


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