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Ulster Since 1600Politics, Economy, and Society$
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Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583119

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583119.001.0001

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Gender, Family, and Sexuality, 1800–2000

Gender, Family, and Sexuality, 1800–2000

(p.245) 15 Gender, Family, and Sexuality, 1800–2000
Ulster Since 1600

Diane Urquhart

Oxford University Press

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

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