Chapter

Gender, Family, and Sexuality, 1800–2000

Diane Urquhart

in Ulster Since 1600

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199583119
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744822 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583119.003.0016
Gender, Family, and Sexuality, 1800–2000

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The family shapes decisions affecting women in particularly powerful ways. Urquhart suggests there were distinctive elements to the demography of the northern counties, when analysed in gender terms. Gender ratios were skewed in favour of women, marriage rates were higher than in other Irish regions, while high rates of marital fertility, infant mortality and maternal mortality persisted into the twentieth century. All may be related, in varying ways, to economic structure and high rates of female participation in the labour force. High rates of Protestant as compared to Catholic illegitimate births gave rise to much polemical interest. Catholic marital fertility, however, was much higher. Catholic fertility in 1971 was two-thirds higher than Protestant fertility, though the two have tended to converge since then. The strident opposition of the Catholic Church to contraception slowed rather than blocked wider social trends towards reduced family sizes and enhanced status for women.

Keywords: Catholic; Protestant; fertility; illegitimacy; mortality; gender ratio; demography; status; family

Chapter.  8125 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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