‘Strong About it All…’ Rural and Urban Women’s Experiences of the Security Forces in Northern Ireland

Authored by: Helen Harris and Eileen Healy (Editors)

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Political Transitions, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Country: Northern Ireland
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2001
Citation: Harris, Helen and Eileen Healy, eds. ‘Strong About it All...’ Rural and Urban Women’s Experiences of the Security Forces in Northern Ireland. Derry, UK: North West Women’s / Human Rights Project Publications, 2001.

Access the Resource:

Executive Summary

Women in the North of Ireland are often represented as unthinking, passive victims of a male war, an ‘armed patriarchy’. The truth is not as simple as that.

‘Strong about it all…’ takes a unique approach to documenting nationalist women’s experiences of conflict and the security forces in the North of Ireland. It is pioneering in valuing rural women’s experiences and the everyday domestic violations of women’s human rights, as well as highlighting the many ways women resist these violations.

Presented here is a wealth of detail about the daily experience of living within a conflict situation in Derry city and the border area of West Tyrone, Castlederg. It shows how that experience has differed for women depending on their age, rural or urban location, class, and whether or not they have children. It validates all these experiences, including ones that are often seen as minor within their own communities. It raises questions about how well the republican / nationalist community has supported individuals and families, particularly women in rural areas, experiencing ongoing harassment.

The experiences documented here will have resonance for women all around the world who live in militarised societies and police states.