The Directory is the result of a survey undertaken by the Women's History Project and consists of a compendium of sources relating to the history of women in Ireland. The database contains information and descriptions of over 14,000 collections and sources in 262 repositories in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.
Two important collections of records relating to Irish womens history are now available in the National Archives. These are the Tweedy Papers, which include the records of the Irish Housewives Association, 1946-1992 and the records of the Joint Committee of Womens Societies and Social Workers, 1935-1993. Both organisations had a powerful impact on the advancement of womens rights and status in 20th century Ireland.
The Irish Housewives Association concerned itself with matters such as consumer rights, social welfare provision, public health, education and the law, particularly family law. Following the incorporation of the Irish Women Citizens Organisation into the IHA in 1947, the IHA became affiliated to the International Alliance of Women in 1948, which involved them in issues such as reproductive rights.
A magazine, The Irish Housewife (Right: First issue of The Irish Housewife, 1946) later The Housewifes Voice, was published from 1946 to 1980. The IHA was involved with many other womens organisations and relevant bodies, including the United Nations, the Council for the Status of Women (Dr Hilda Tweedy was its first chairperson), and the Womens Representative Council. (Top left: Hilda Tweedy at board meeting of the International Alliance of Women, Paris, 1976)
The Joint Committee of Womens Societies and Social Workers was an umbrella organisation for womens groups and associations, and its objectives were to work together on issues concerning women and children, and to study social legislation and recommend reforms. Among its early demands were women police, women jurors, legal adoption, better conditions for women prisoners and in childrens institutions, and better representation for women in the Senate. They were successful in many of these campaigns.