Ailbhe Smyth is an Irish academic, feminist and LGBTQ activist. She was the founding director of the Women’s Education, Resource and Research Centre, University College Dublin.
Ailbhe Smyth lectured in French Studies at UCD for many years before going on to become the founding head of Women’s Studies there. She has published widely on Feminism, culture and politics, Ailbhe edited Wildish Things: An Anthology of New Irish Women’s Writing, published by Attic Press in 1989. She left the university in 2007 to focus on activism and working on the ground with women’s and LGBTIQ groups and organisations.
A long-time feminist, LGBTIQ and socialist activist, Ailbhe has campaigned on many issues and most recently played a leading role in both the equal marriage and abortion rights referendum campaigns. She was co-director of the Together for Yes campaign.
She is currently Chair of Women’s Aid and is a founding member of Le Cheile: Diversity not Division, a cross-sectoral alliance set up in 2020 to challenge far right extremism in Ireland.
Ailbhe (to her great surprise) was included in the Time Magazine list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2019, and was made a Freewoman of the City of Dublin in 2021. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Laws by the University of Galway in 2020.