New focus on women and women’s stories heralded for national cultural collections
Minister Martin announces plan to appraise the feasibility of a women’s museum
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin T.D. today announced her intention to establish a committee to advise on the representation of women and women’s stories within the collections of the National Cultural Institutions. The committee will also consider the possibility of creating a dedicated presentation of women’s stories through a range of options, within the framework of the Public Spending Code. These options may include a women’s museum, a re-imagining of the National Collection or other initiatives that the committee considers appropriate.
In recent years there has been increasing awareness of the under-representation of women in Irish society, as well as a growing recognition of the need to highlight women’s contributions to the State’s political, scientific, social and cultural history. It is against this backdrop that Minister Martin will establish the committee to recommend actions that showcase the achievements of women within the National Cultural Institutions and the National Collection. The committee will engage with a broad cross-section of stakeholders to identify best practice models that will support cultural institutions in representing women’s stories through cultural experiences.
Speaking today, Minister Martin said:
“As Minister, a great deal of my work has been about advocating for women in Irish society. Today’s announcement underscores my commitment to ensuring that the contributions of women continue to be recognised and, indeed, celebrated in our culture. This committee will seek to identify any gender imbalances both within our National Cultural Institutions and our National Collection. It will also explore the possibility of creating a stand-alone presentation dedicated to women’s stories, including a women’s museum. I must also acknowledge the Women’s Museum Advocacy group for their work, and support, in bringing forward these proposals.
I am committed to ensuring that this work takes account of the diversity of women’s lives and that the voices of historically marginalised women are brought to the fore in this discussion. I believe this initiative can be a vehicle for conversation within Irish society about how we record and represent the stories of women in our history, and the impact that under-representation has on how we see ourselves at both an individual and societal level. This initiative will support the delivery of our Programme for Government, which is founded on the principle of equality and ensuring that every citizen can achieve their full potential.”
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Roinn Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
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Notes to Editor:
The membership of the committee has not yet been appointed but will include representation from the National Cultural Institutions and the broader museums, archives, and galleries sector, those with equity, diversity and inclusion expertise such as the National Women’s Council of Ireland, and relevant Government Departments and State Bodies.
The work that the advisory committee will carry out includes identifying best practice models within cultural policy internationally that can support the National Cultural Institutions to ensure that women’s stories are appropriately reflected in the presentation of cultural heritage. They will also oversee the establishment of an audit of the National Collection to identify gaps in the representation of women and women’s stories and undertaking a review of the results.
The committee will also consider the possibility to create a dedicated presentation of women’s stories through a range of options within the framework of the Public Spending Code. These options may include a women’s museum, a re-imagining of the National Collection or other initiatives that the committee considers appropriate.