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Isabella Tod (1836-1896)

Born in Edinburgh, Isabella Tod lived in Belfast for most of her life and became Ulster’s pre-eminent advocate of votes for women and women’s education. She campaigned for changes in the law which resulted in the Married Women’s Property Act of 1882, secured the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act and championed the right of women to higher education. In this she was successful to the extent that she persuaded the Queen’s University of Ireland to allow girls to take examinations and to be awarded certificates (but not yet degrees). Politically, Isabella was an enthusiastic Liberal Unionist.

Further Reading: Gordon Lucy, The Great Convention: The Ulster Unionist Convention of 1892 (Lurgan, 1995).

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