Queen's University

Queen's UniversityQueen’s University Belfast was established in 1845. Women were admitted in 1882 to take arts degrees and could enrol in all courses by 1890. In 1908, the university became an independent institution and its charter guaranteed that it would be non-denominational and give equal status to women. A number of well-known Belfast women were elected to the university’s governing body, including the educationalist Margaret Byers, philanthropist Margaret Montgomery Carlisle and Celtic studies academic Mary Hatton.

Queen’s became a site for female political activism in the early twentieth century. Suffragettes held meetings on campus, which occasionally became rowdy events. The women students’ Voluntary Aid Detachment organised war effort activities. However, that group came into conflict with the university in 1915 when women students opposed compulsory ambulance training for female students. A standoff ensued until January 1916, when the measure was suspended by university authorities.

Queen’s elected representatives to the Parliament of Northern Ireland included Eileen Hickey, Irene Calvert and Sheelagh Murnaghan.