Constance Markievicz

Constance Georgine Gore-Booth  was born in London (1868 – 1927) but lived in Ireland. Constance decided to train as a painter and was to become a landscape artist but, at the time, only one art school in Dublin accepted female students. In 1892, she went to study at the Slade School of Art in London where she first became politically active and joined the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). Later she moved to Paris and enrolled at the prestigious Académie Julian where she met her future husband, Count Casimir Markievicz  an artist from a wealthy Polish family which made her a countess.

Constance became involved with Irish politics in 1908 and became  an Irish Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil politician, revolutionary nationalist, suffragette and socialist. In 1909 she founded a para-military nationalist scouts organization that instructed teenage boys and girls in the use of firearms.

In 1916 she became second in command under James Connolly the leader of the Easter Rebellion and would be sentenced to death for her part in the rebellion. It was commuted because she was female.

In December 1918, she was the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, though she did not take her seat and, along with the other Sinn Féin  formed the first Dáil Éireann. She was also one of the first women in the world to hold a cabinet position (Minister for Labour of the Irish Republic, 1919–1922).

Having dispensed her possessions to the poor of Dublin she died penniless. Read more about Constance,  a most remarkable woman.

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