Can history handle a strong woman?
Regardless of your opinion on the women discussed during Women’s History Month – it is fair to say that they all led fascinating lives - we wouldn’t be talking about them if they hadn’t. As shocking as some of their actions were, most of the women were chastised for actions that men have long since been commended for…
In this post, we examine women’s rights throughout history and feature women chosen by our office staff who played a very important part in the advancement of equal rights for women.
1867 The London Society for Women’s Suffrage is formed to campaign for female suffrage.
1870 The Married Women’s Property Act allows married women to own their own property. Previously, when women married, their property transferred to their husbands. Divorce heavily favoured men, allowing property to remain in their possession. This act allows women to keep their property, married, divorced, single or widowed.
1903 The Women’s Social and Political Union is founded in Manchester by Emmeline Pankhurst, her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, and Annie Kearney;
Emmeline Pankhurst - Nominated by Debbie Paton:
“As part of the Women’s Social and Political Union, she and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia did hunger strikes, window smashing, demonstrations for the cause. Member Emily Davidson was killed when she famously threw herself in front of the Kings horse at the Derby as protest at the Government’s continued failure to grant women the vote. Women were given the vote in 1918 if they were over 30 and in 1938 equal voting rights was given to women if 21 or over the same as men. Emmeline Pankhurst died June 14th 1928 shortly after women were granted the vote. Girl power!!!!”
1930 Amy Johnson became the first woman pilot, or in the language of the time, "aviatrix", to fly solo from England to Australia.
1968 Women at the Ford car factory in Dagenham strike over equal pay, almost stopping production at all Ford UK plants. Their protest led directly to the passing of the Equal Pay Act.
1975 The Sex Discrimination Act makes it illegal to discriminate against women in work, education and training. This is another act pushed through by the women’s movement.
1979 The feminist journal ‘Feminist Review’ is founded. It went on to play a crucial role in promoting contemporary feminist debate in the UK.
1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female prime minister;
Margaret Thatcher, 1925-2013 - Chosen by Chris Stevens:
“I know she spelt bad news for a lot of people… but I wonder how things might have turned out had she not done what she did…”
Forty years ago, Margaret Thatcher made history by becoming the first woman to lead a British political party. Four years later, in 1979, she would achieve another female first when she became Prime Minister. She spent 11 years as leader, during which, she cemented herself as the most dominating and divisive leader in modern political history. Very rarely will her name escape mention in a conversation on trade unionism or privatisation (or “power-dressing” for that matter). Playing as she did in such a “male dominated” arena, we must ask, would she be remembered in the same way if she hadn’t been a woman? Would she still be thought of as Thatcher “the milk-snatcher” or would her efforts during the Falklands War enter the conversation more quickly?
1982 Women are allowed to spend their money in English pubs without being refused service. To put this into context, this meant that Margaret Thatcher (above) could have been been stopped from buying her favoured whiskey & soda during her first two years as Prime Minister.
2015 The quest for equality continues across the world…