Nevertheless, they persisted: Feminist activism and the politics of crisis in Northern Ireland

Hagen, J. (Advisor)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited or keynote talk at national or international conference


During political and economic crises gender equality concerns and the experiences of women and LGBT+ folks tend to be marginalised in favour of other political issues deemed of more urgency. At the same time, the logic of crisis works to obscure or accelerate ongoing processes that undermine the social, sexual, cultural and economic situations of diversely positioned women and LGBT+ individuals.

In Northern Ireland, we have seen these dynamics at play numerous times, from the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement to the longstanding crisis of devolved political institutions and in the context of Brexit, and the challenges presented by current global pandemic. In spite of these dynamics, women’s groups, feminist and LGBT+ activists, as well as progressive politicians, have continued to organise collectively to keep concerns and claims about gender+ equality and social justice onto the political agenda and public debate.

Mobilising feminist scholarship on the politics of crisis and recent feminist analyses of Brexit, this paper interrogates how feminist/LGBT+ grassroots activists in NI responded to ongoing challenges for gender equality, social justice and inclusion. Drawing upon in-depth interviews, the paper reflects on the politics of coalition-building and strategic feminist activism in response to the intersection between the breakdown of devolved institutions, the uncertainty over Brexit and the ongoing gendered challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 emergency.

By foregrounding the contextual complexities of Northern Ireland’s post-GFA politics, the paper contributes to critical feminist engagements with the politics of global contemporary crises, interrogating explicit and unanticipated effects.
Period23 Mar 2021
Event titleImagine! Festival of Ideas and Politics
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionNational