Plaque to be unveiled to trailblazing Cavan woman
New Zealand Ambassador to Ireland, Brad Burgess, will attend while Minister Heather Humphreys will have the honour of unveiling the plaque.
A trailblazing Cavan campaigner who made "an outstanding contribution" to women's rights in New Zealand will be recognised with a 'Blue Plaque' this weekend.
A plaque honouring Margaret Scott Hawthorne (1869-1958), a trailblazer in campaigning for women's rights in New Zealand, will be unveiled later today.
A 'Blue Plaque' will be unveiled on Saturday, March 26, at 2pm at Killeshandra Church of Ireland on the town's Main Street.
The New Zealand Ambassador to Ireland, Brad Burgess, will attend while Minister Heather Humphreys will have the honour of unveiling the plaque.
The honour is being organised by the Ulster Historical Circle.
Born on January 17, 1869, to parents Henry Scott and Anne Maria Kenny, Margaret Jane was the second daughter, and one of six children born in Cornafean.
Her maternal grandparents, William and Maria Kenny, had farmed the 33 acres since the 1820s. The farm, the largest in the townland, was well stocked and Margaret and her siblings enjoyed the benefits of a spacious two-storey slated house.
At the age of 23 in 1892 and now living in New Zeland, Hawethorne became the first female secretary of the Christchurch Tailoresses’ and Pressers’ Union. Only men had previously held this position.
Her objective was to improve the working conditions for women and for the proper remuneration to be paid for working long hours. She came to national prominence when elected as vice president in 1894 to the Canterbury Trades and Labour Council.
Other women joined her as her pioneering work continued to be fruitful, and because she had vast experience with women workers, Margaret was appointed to manage the Women’s Branch of the Department of Labour in Wellington.
From this appointment came the establishment of a Women’s Employment Bureau, and her promotion to the position of Inspector of Factories, enabled her to investigate the working conditions throughout New Zealand where women and girls were employed, thus ensuring that the accommodation, ventilation etc., under the Factories Act 1894 were adhered to.