In recent years, and particularly with the emergence of cultural history, historians of education have begun to adopt a wide variety of theoretical approaches to their scholarship. Notwithstanding this, cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) remains underutilised in the field of history of education, despite being employed widely in other domains of education research. This paper illustrates the way in which CHAT offers a valuable framework for identifying and illuminating broad sweeps of change in education at local, national, and international levels, specifically by interrogating a strike initiated by female students in a religious-run teacher training college in Ireland in the 1970s. What is particularly remarkable about that strike is that these women activists were protesting at a time when Irish society was at its most conservative, when Church control was at its zenith, and when women’s rights were most restricted. Yet, these women activists were not rising up against the male dominant hegemony. Rather, they were rising up against the female religious managers of the college. Our use of CHAT, thus, focused on patriarchy perpetuated by women on women.