A Timeline of Women's Rights UK 1553-2020s

In this timeline of Women's Rights History in the UK, some key women's rights landmarks, may shock you? Historically, women's rights in the UK were infinitesimal e.g. in the past women's education was designed ONLY to teach upper class girls enough to make them... appealing WIVES and, socially aceptable MOTHERS. This is a coup d'œil timeline of British women who forged an impact on womens equality. No doubt, there are innumerable heroines who are undocumented :(

Thank you to ALL the brave women trailblazers, across the world, including: lezzas, suffragettes, women factory strikers, World War women workers, the 70's "burn-our-bras" Women's Lib...

Timeline of Women's Rights UK: Pre-17c | 18c | 19c | 20c | 21c | Some Women's Support Links | Search: Press Ctrl +F |

Women's Rights Documentaries | UK Women's Rights Quiz - dare you ;)

Women's Rights History UK - in the begining...

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Caveat :) Please forgive any errors (particularly, the UK Acts, which I got my knickers in a twist) or omissions with regard to this Women's Rights timeline. Do email me with regard to corrections and suggested content.

PS :) Check out the Timeline of Lesbian Rights UK

Girls Rights to Education UK

Historically, women's education in Britain was designed to teach middle and upper class girls enough to make them better wives and mothers. Education for women was not perceived as a way of transforming their lives. Indeed, one parliamentary report said that girls should be educated to be "decorative, modest, marriageable beings". For well-off girls, lessons were often taught in the home by governesses and often included music, crafts and classes in social graces and etiquette. Only the very privileged girls were taught subjects such as mathematics. In 1840, it has been estimated that 60% of women were illiterate in the UK (oxford-royale.com).

Note: The oldest school in the UK is accredited as being King's School, Canterbury, which was founded in 597. For almost 1,400 years it was boys-only until the early 1970s, when girls were admitted to the Sixth Form. In comparison in 1864, apparently only 12 public secondary schools for girls existed in England (newn.cam.ac.uk). The Education Act 1880, finally made school attendance compulsory for children (boys and girls) between the ages of 5 and 10.

Age of Consent for Girls UK

  • 1275 - Age of Consent for girls = 12 years old. As part of a Rape Law, the English government set the age of consent for girls at 12 years old.
  • 1875 - Age of Consent for girls = 13. The Offence Against the Persons Act 1875 raised the age of consent for girls to 13.
  • 1885 - Age of Consent for girls = 16. The Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 raised the age of consent for girls to 16, which is still valid in 2021.

Legal Age of Marriage UK

  • 1753 - Legal Age of Marriage for girls = 12 years old. Marriage age was set at 12 for a female and 14 for a male. The Marriage Act 1753 declared that no marriage of a person under the age of 21 was valid without the consent of parents or guardians and all marriage ceremonies must be conducted by a minister in a Parish church or chapel of the Church of England to be legally binding.
  • 1929 - Legal Age of Marriage for girls = 16. Marriage age was set at 16 for both sexes. In response to a campaign by the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship, The Ages of Marriage Act 1929 raised the age limit to 16 for boys and girls.
  • 2021+ - Legal Age of Marriage for girls = 18? Activists have been campaigning to raise the minimum legal age of marriage to 18, in order to avoid young people being pressured by their parents into marrying against their own wishes.

A Timeline of Women's Rights UK: Pre-410 AD

Groover's - The UK was fragmented into so many "hoods" with men and woman, evolving ... Fab archaeologists, are working v hard interpreting their amazing new finds. But whilst updating this page, I am surprised how woman's rights in the uK have changed to and fro, through history.

A Timeline of Women's Rights UK: Pre-1066

410 - 1066:
Anglo Saxon Women's Rights

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

I am truly surprised! Only discovered this just now, by watching BBC2's Digging for Britain (Oi! I'm trendy & slick but now, after lockdowns, into archaeology as I am ex-paleontologist)!

In Anglo-Saxon England, men and women enjoyed apparently, relative equal rights.

When the Roman legions left "Britannica" (Bravo Scot's - they didn't let them in!) in 410 AD (The Romans had arrived in England, in 43 AD), Germanic-speaking Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians began to "arrive" – at first in small invading parties. The Anglo-Saxon period spanned from 410 to 1066 AD (six centuries). By 660, there were 7 Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Sussex, Kent, Essex and East Anglia. Each was ruled by a different king.

Apparently, Anglo-Saxon men and women (surprisingly) held their money and properties equally, both had rights in law, and ABUSE of women was not tolerated. For example:

  • Under Anglo-Saxon King Ælfred's 9th century Law "No woman or maiden shall ever be forced to marry one whom she dislikes, nor be sold for money."
  • An Anglo-Saxon woman was free to leave a proven unhappy marriage yet still retain her Dower Rights (a Dower was a common law that entitled a widow to a portion of her husband's estate in absence of a will).
  • Anglo-Saxon children, belonged to both parents equally.
  • If the couple separated - there was no automatic right for the father to take control of them over the mother.
  • If the father died - the family of the father could not automatically take the children from the mother.
    Land Ownership
  • Anglo-Saxon women had the right to own land in her own name.
  • Anglo-Saxon women could sell her land or give it away without her father's or husband's consent.
    Abuse of Women
  • King Ælfred's 9th century Law included laws covering "wergild" penalties (man-gold = the amount of money each man's life was valued at) owed for kidnapping a woman from a nunnery; for assault, sexual and otherwise, of a woman; rape of a slave woman; rape of underage girls; and for the death of a pregnant woman.

Image - Saint Etheldreda / Ӕthelthryth / Audrey (636 -679 AD) who was an East-Anglian princess who became the Queen of Northumbria and later the founder and abbess of a monastery at Ely in Cambridgeshire.

BUT, Women's Right's changed back for the worse in 1066 with the Norman Conquest. FFS, why?

Women's Rights And The Norman Conquest

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

On the 14th October 1066, Duke William of Normandy defeated King Harold II (the last crowned Anglo-Saxon English King) at the Battle of Hastings, East Sussex, England. This event is truly, one of the most famous events in ENGLISH history as the Norman victory had a lasting political impact on England and thereafter for Britain.

Among the various ramifications of 1066, it was a whiplash on Women's Rights in Britain, considering what is believed to be the Anglo-Saxons equality. With the Norman Conquest::

    Woman's status:
  • Women became a possession - a woman was described in law as an "infant" and she was only considered to be of value as... a mother.
  • Forced marriage - apart from those women who ran into convents, a woman would be expected to marry, particularly if she was an heiress to any property (from the Anglo-Saxon times). If she was widowed, her "Overlord" could force her to remarry a man of his choice.
  • Woman's married Will - A married woman could not make a will without her husband’s permission. She would have to leave to her husband - but there would have been little to leave as officially all her property belonged to him.
  • In a marital dispute all children were the "property" of the father.
  • Divorce was not possible, except in very rare circumstances. “Marriage Debt” meant each partner was entitled to expect a "sex life" (as a way of limiting adultery / fornication) and to be able to have children. Only if the husband proved incapable of providing the essentials of the “Marriage Debt” – a sex life and children – could a woman hope to be free of the marriage. However, their impotence would have to be proved in a public court of law, which required a substantial down payment.
    Woman's Property
  • Any property a woman held when she married became the property of her husband, and she had no say in what happened to it or how it was used.
    Violence Against Women
  • Violence against women was accepted, with the law condoning a stick no thicker than a man’s thumb.
    Women's right to vote
  • No one had the right to vote as Britain was governed by Kings.

Ps Image: Engraving (c.1860) showing the body of King Harold being identified during the battle of Hastings, 1066. Histoire Populaire de la France, Tome Premier, Ch. Lahure's Publication. The engraving credits Edith of Wessex with the identification, confusing her with Eadgifu Swanneshals – Edith Swan-neck – King Harold's former... concubine?

PPs The Famous "Bayeux Tapestry" depicting the events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 - Professor George Garnett apparently has counted (bizarrely) no less than 93 penises on display (though most of those are... equine).

A Timeline of Women's Rights UK: Pre-17

Empress Matilda - The Nearly First Queen of England

A women's rights timeline UK - Empress Matilda - The Nearly First Queen of England

Matilda was the daughter of King Henry I of England and Matilda of Scotland. Henry I nominated Matilda as his successor and heir to the English throne, as his only living legitimate child and had his court swear an oath to support Matilda, in 1127. Though this was not welcomed, as there had never been a female heir to the English throne before, the court agreed reluctantly.

Matilda, legally inherited the throne upon the death of Henry I, in 1135, and was set to become the first Queen of England. BUT, her rascal cousin Stephen of Blois contested her right to the throne as she was female, which contravened his oath to Henry I and in a coup, he raced to Winchester to be crowned first. Stephen of Blois' coronation took place within the month of Henry I's death and his election was confirmed by the Pope in 1136.

Empress Matilda rightfully contested the rule of her cousin Stephen and marched to Oxford to base her campaign at Oxford Castle. For 19 long years, Empress Matilda fought her cousin and the sexism of medieval England to gain her rightful throne. In 1148, Matilda retreated to Normandy (which her husband, Geoffrey Count of Anjou had conquered) and began to promote her son Henry as successor to the throne.

By rights, Empress Matilda should have been the first queen of England and she very nearly was. Although Empress Matilda was never crowned queen of England, it was through her tenacity that her son did become king of England - Henry II 'Curtmantle' (r. 1154-1189). Find out more about Empress Matilda.

Forty-shilling Freeholder Voters

In 1429, legislation was passed in England giving the right to vote to forty-shilling freeholders - landowners who owned freehold lands (i.e. not leased from a land's owner) to a net value of 40 shillings or more. Though the legislation did not specify the gender of the property owner, due the rareity of women landowners to right to vote became more or less restricted to males.

  • 1536 - the twelve counties of Wales were incorporated into English rule by statute and they gained the right to return one member each to Parliament.
  • 1707 - The Act of Union, passed by the English and Scottish Parliaments, led to the creation of a united kingdom to be called "Great Britain" 1 May of 1707. The UK Parliament met for the first time in October 1707.

1553 – 1558:
The First Queen To Rule England - Mary I

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The first Queen to rule England - Between 1553 – 58, Mary I (also called Mary Tudor / Bloody Mary) was the first Queen to rule England in her own right.

Over approximately 1,200 years, there have been 61 monarchs of England and Britain of which 5 have been Queens: Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 until her forced abdication in 1567), Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary) (1553 – 1558), Queen Elizabeth I (1558 - 1603), Queen Ann (1702 – 1714), Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901) and Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – 2022).

FYI: Before you exclaim, yes, (sixteen year-old) Lady Jane Grey aka the "Nine Days' Queen" (from 10 to 19 July 1553), reigned England and Ireland, before Queen Mary I. But, Lady Jane was duped into becoming Queen and was not first in line.

In January 1553, when Edward VI (aged 15) fell critically ill he wrote his ‘Devise for the Succession’. Edward VI wanted to ensure that his successor was a MALE Protestant. As there was no male in line to succeed him, Edward VI disinherited his half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth in favour of the male heirs of his cousin, Lady Frances Grey or of her children, Jane, Catherine and Mary. The daughters were quickly married off to allies of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, Edward VI's chief minister! On the 25 May 1953, aged sixteen, Lady Jane was married off to Lord Guildford Dudley (eighteen years old, who was the son of the Duke of Northumberland - a political cad), and twelve year old Lady Catherine was married off to Lord Herbert (15 years old). EIGHT year old Lady Mary was betrothed to her distant cousin Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey de Wilton, whose father was an ally of the Duke of Northumberland.

By June 1553, it became clear that King Edward VI was fatally ill. Since none of his cousins had yet produced a male heir, he changed his ‘Devise’ in favour of Lady Jane Grey, unbeknown to her. One can't help think that poor Lady Jane was a pawn for the Duke of Northumberland's bid to cease the crown for his family. Four days after the death of King Edward VI, on the 10th July, Lady Jane's coronation took place at the Tower of London. Her cousin Princess Mary, who was the oldest daughter of King Henry VIII and a Catholic, wrote to the Privy Council demanding to be made queen. Under the threat of civil war, on 19 July 1553 Mary was proclaimed queen. In November 1553, Lady Jane and her husband were imprisoned in the Tower of London and tried for, and found guilty of high treason. Though Queen Mary I, said her conscience would not permit her to have her cousin put to death, after the suppression of the Wyatt rebellion in early 1554, Lady Jane and her husband were executed on 12 February 1554, and Jane's father, on 23 February. Read more
  • 2013 - The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 ends exclusively male royal succession. Under the previous law, dating back to 1701, women were superseded by their brothers in succession even if they were the first born.

First Woman In England To Be Granted A Patent - Amye Ball

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The first woman in England to be granted a patent - Amye Everard Ball. Amye's patent for her medicinal "Mrs. Ball's Tincture of saffron and essence of roses" was registered in 1637. The first English patent for invention was granted to John of Utynam, a Flemish-born stained glass manufacturer, by King Henry IV in 1449. The stained glass was used for the windows of Eton College.

Examples of other British women patent holders and inventors:

  • 1770: Eleanor Coade developed an artificial stone calling it lithodipyra (now known as coade stone) which is exceptionally resistant to weathering and erosion. Across the UK, coade stone was used in countless statues and building facades, for example for her Southbank Lion, on the Southern end of Westminster Bridge, London.
  • 1803: Elizabeth Bell obtained patents for a chimney-sweeping device which may have been inspired by the popular campaign to abolish the employment of children as chimney sweeps.
  • 1811: Sarah Guppy patented a method "for Bridges and Railroads", in 1811, based on sturdy piles or columns from which bridges could be suspended.
  • 1859: Elizabeth Merrell, a London metal-worker, invented an electric washing machine in 1859.
  • 1868: Henrietta Vansittart, née Lowe was awarded a patent for her steam ship screw propeller called the Lowe-Vansittart propeller. The famous ocean liner, the Lusitania (which was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915) had been fitted with her propeller.
  • 1872: Josephine Cochran invented a dishwasher in 1872.
  • 1904: Louisa Llewellin patented her lady's "glove for self defence and other purposes" in 1904.

First Female Actress On The English Stage

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In 1660, Women were give the right to play female roles on the English stage. Until 1660, it was illegal for women to act on the English stage as the church forbade it, so women's roles were played by boys and men. This was repealed when theatre-lover King Charles II granted a charter to Drury Lane necessitating that all female parts should be played by women. The first female actress on the English stage playing a female role was - Margaret Hughes who played Desdemona in Othello on 8 December 1660. 60 years earlier, however, Moll Cutpurse (Mary Frith), in 1600, is noted as the first recorded female performance on the English stage but was dressed in men's clothing for comedic musical performances and was later the subject of Middleton and Dekker's play The Roaring Girl. Moll Cutpurse was a thief (pickpockets would often cut purses straight from their victims' clothing), a receiver and broker of stolen goods, a celebrated cross-dresser and entertainer.

Tenures Abolition Act 1660 - The Act let any father, by last will and testament, designate a guardian for his children. The rights of this guardian superseded those of the children's mother!

The Last Execution For Witchcraft, England

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In England, the last execution for witchcraft is thought to have been in 1684, when Alice Molland was hanged in Exeter for causing sickness through witchcraft.

  • 1655: Wales - widow Margaret ferch Richard was hanged for instigating a bewitching that caused the death of a married woman.
  • 1722: Scotland - Janet Horne was tarred and feathered, paraded through Dornoch in a barrel and then... burned to death. An utterly awful story, follows! Janet's daughter suffered from a deformity in her hands and feet which neighbours gossiped that she looked as though she had pony hooves as feet. Janet was accused of turning her daughter into a pony to transport her around the countryside to carry out her witchcraft. Janet and her daughter were arrested and jailed in Dornoch and with rubbish legal aid, were found guilty. Though her daughter managed to escape, poor Janet was confused and it was said that she smiled and warmed herself at the very fire which was about to consume her - in modern times her behaviour may be interpreted as suffering of some form of dementia :(
  • 1895: Ireland - Bridget Cleary was set alight by her husband because he believed she was a... fairy!

As a very rough estimate, in the UK aprox. 713 woman were executed for being witches (England: 500, Scotland: 200, Wales: 5 and Ireland: 8) while in Europe, between 1484 - 1750, some 12,000 witches were tortured, burned or hanged.

The First Women's Magazine - The Ladies' Mercury

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In 1693, the first women's magazine, titled: The Ladies' Mercury, was published in London by the Athenian Society. It was a spin off from The Athenian Mercury and was a weekly peroidical comprising a single double-sided sheet covering "all the most nice and curious questions concerning love, marriage, behaviour, dress and humour of the female sex, whether virgins, wives, or widows". Alas it only lasted ... four issues (from 27 February 1693 — 17 March 1693)!. FYI The Female Tatler ran from 8 July 1709 to 31 March 1710 while The Female Spectator ran from 1744 and 1746. Both peroidicals were not part of the pulication Houses of their ripped of names.

A Timeline of Women's Rights UK: 18c

1710 - 1712:
First Woman Freemason - Elizabeth St Leger

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Elizabeth St Leger, was the first recorded woman to be initiated into The Regular Freemasonry and became known as "The Lady Freemason".

A Freemason is a member of one of the world's oldest secular fraternal societies which traces their origins to the local guilds of stonemasons that, from the end of the 13th century, regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The purpose of Freemasonry is to improve morality, build character, and provide a course of self-improvement.

Elizabeth St Leger was the daughter of Arthur St Leger, 1st Viscount Doneraile, who was a Freemason. The story goes - round about 1710-12, a Freemasonry Lodge was being held at Doneraile Court, her family home. In the family library, the young Elizabeth had awoken to the sound of voices coming from the next room. Intrigued, she removed a loose brick in the wall (the library was under going renovations) to peer into the next room. When she realised a ceremony was taking place, she tried to slip away, however, she was caught by the Tyler (the outer guard stationed for open Masonic Lodges). The Tyler, summoned the Freemason brothers and her father from the other room who then debated as to what to do. To prevent her from revealing the Freemasonry's secrets, it was decided to initiate Elizabeth into the Lodge, thus binding her to the fraternity. Having been initiated, Elizabeth St Leger became a well-known figure in Masonic Ceremonies, and public processions.

  • 1913: Freemasonry for Women - was founded in 1913, as "The Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons" (HFAF). The Freemasonry for Women is still a Masonic fraternity for women with Lodges in the UK and overseas.
  • 1935: The Grand Lodge of the Honourable Order of Ancient Masonry - became an exclusively female organisation, in 1935.
  • 1958: 'The Order of Women Freemasons' - The Grand Lodge of the Honourable Order of Ancient Masonry was renamed to 'The Order of Women Freemasons' in 1958.

One Of The First Institutions For Female-Only Patients - Keldgate Almshouse

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Ann Routh founded one of the first institutions for female-only patients: Keldgate Almshouse, in 1749, in Beverley, Yorkshire 'for the maintenance of 12 poor old women of the parishes'.

  • 1123: Oldest hospital in the UK - St Bartholomew's Hospital, founded in 1123, is reportedly the oldest hospital in the UK
  • 1843: The first hospital in London for women - The Hospital for the Diseases of Women, was established by Dr. Protheroe Smith in 1843 on Red Lion Square. It was the first specialist gynaecological hospital in the UK.
  • 1870s: Gynaecological wards - General hospitals began to set up gynaecological wards and specialist departments.
  • 1948: The National Health Service (NHS) - was set up in 1948 using public funding to provide good healthcare to all.
  • 1964: NHS Cervical screening - was introduced in 1964, in England.
  • 1988: The NHS Breast Screening Programme - was launched in 1988 and, was the first of its kind in the world.
  • 2021: Women's Health Plan - Scotland is the first country in the UK to have a Women's Health Plan.

First Women To Be A Senior Partner Of A Bank - Sarah Child

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Sarah Child became the first women to be a senior partner of a bank, Child & Co, in 1782, following the death of her husband Robert Child. Sarah held this position until her death in 1793, when the role passed to her granddaughter Sarah Sophia Fane.

  • 1672: The oldest bank in the UK - C. Hoare & Co is a small private bank and the oldest bank in the UK, founded in 1672.
  • 1822: The second women to be a senior partner of a bank - Harriot Coutts. When her husband, Thomas Coutts died in 1822, who was senior partner in Coutts & Co, Harriot Coutts née Mellon inherited his share in the business. Though Harriot generally left the running of the bank to her partners, she always took an active interest to ensure that her late husband's wishes continued to be honoured. Later, Harriot married William Beauclerk, 9th Duke of St Albans and became known as Harriet Beauclerk, Duchess of St Albans. Angela Burdett-Coutts, Harriot's granddaughter and heir, became the public face of Coutts & Co. Her grandmother's will, however, specifically barred Angela from direct involvement in the bank's business.
  • 1914: Women in the bank workforce - with the outbreak of WWI, in 1914, women were recruited into banks in large numbers as a third of male colleagues had left for active service. At the end of WWI, many women in banking and finance were "released". Barclays board did not permit this, though in 1923 Barclays restricted women to a quarter of the workforce.
  • 1917: Institute exams - The Institute's examinations were opened to female candidates in 1917.
  • 1920s: Women in the bank workforce - women became accepted members of the bank workforce – though they generally had to be aged between 17 and 30 and single. Those who married had to resign.
  • 1958: First female branch manager - Hilda Harding became the UK's first female branch manager and earned instant world-wide publicity. Hilda Harding was appointed to run the Hanover Street, London W1, branch of Barclays in 1958.
  • 1980: Women in Banking and Finance - was formed in 1980 as is a non-for-profit membership organisation with branches in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • 2009: The first CEO of a UK clearing bank - Alison Rose at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

A Vindication of the Rights of Women

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 – 1797) published, in 1792, A Vindication of the Rights of Women which called for female equality, particularly in the area of education. I leave it to you clever academics to explore her feminist philosophy.

A Timeline of Women's Rights UK: 19c

The First Women's Golf Tournament - Musselburgh Golf Club

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The first documented women's golf tournament was held on January 9, 1811 in Scotland, at Musselburgh Golf Club in Scotland for the wives of local fishermen. The winner received a fishing basket; second- and third-place finishers received silk handkerchiefs from Barcelona.

FYI: The history books have Mary Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587) down as the first female golfer ever recorded. Imagine women just playing golf made news headlines! In 1738, The Edinburgh newspaper "Caledonian Mercury" reported that on the 24th April 1738 ... two married women played a golf match! The two women played golf on Bruntsfield Links in Edinburgh, with their husbands acting as caddies. This shocking "news" was also reported in London, Pennsylvania and Carolina newspaper! Find out more about the history of women's golf in the UK.

First Female Surgeon UK - Dr J Barry

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Dr J Barry successfully passed the examination of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, having previously graduated in 1812 as Medicinae Doctor (MD) at University of Edinburgh Medical School. In 1857, Dr J Barry achieved the highest accolade as Inspector General of Hospitals in the British army (equivalent to Brigadier General).

Not until Dr J Barry's death in 1865, was it discovered Dr James Barry was a... woman, born Margaret Ann Bulkley! Therefore, she was the first qualified and practicing female surgeon in the UK.

First Account Of The Life Of A Black Woman To Be Published In UK - Mary Prince

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The first Black women to write and publish an autobiography in the UK - Mary Prince. Mary Prince was born in Bermuda in 1788 to an enslaved family of African descent. After the case of Somerset v Stewart in 1772, it was ruled that it was illegal to transport slaves out of England. Perhaps knowing this, Mary (then enslaved in Antigua) asked to accompany are then master Adam Woods and his family to London, in 1828. After increasing conflict with her master in England Adam Wood gave her a letter that nominally gave her the right to leave but, suggested that no one should hire her. Mary left in 1829 and took shelter with the Moravian church in Hatton Garden.

She then found work at the home of Thomas Pringle who was the Secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society (1823–1838) and an abolitionist writer. Encouraged by Thomas, Mary arranged for her life narrative to be transcribed by Susanna Strickland, as Mary was illiterate. The History of Mary Prince was published in 1831, and was the first account of the life of a black woman and the brutalities of enslavement, to be published in the UK. The The History of Mary Prince had a galvanising effect on the anti-slavery movement as it was published at a time when slavery was still legal in Bermuda and British Caribbean colonies.

Some key dates in the shameful history British slave trade:

  • 1554–1555: Admiral Sir John Hawkins of Plymouth, a notable Elizabethan seafarer, formed a slave trading syndicate of wealthy merchants. He sailed with three ships for the Caribbean via Sierra Leone, hijacked a Portuguese slave ship and sold the 300 slaves from it in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
  • 1772: After the case of Somerset v Stewart in 1772, it was ruled that it was illegal to transport slaves out of England.
  • 1808: Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which outlawed the slave trade but not slavery itself.
  • 1833: Slavery Abolition Act - The 1833 law was intended to achieve a two-staged abolition of West Indian slavery by 1840. Through the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, 800,000 Africans who were then the legal property of Britain's slave owners formally freed.
  • 1834: compensation to former slave owners - What is less well known about the Slavery Abolition Act is that it contained a provision for the financial compensation of the owners of the slaves which had been freed, by the British taxpayer, for the loss of their "property". A Compensation Commission was set up to evaluate the claims of the slave owners and, administer the distribution of the £20m the government had set aside to pay them off. It has been calculated the £20m is the equivalent of between £16bn and £17bn on modern times. Moreover, through the Compensation Commission's adminstrative work there is nearly a complete census of British slavery on on 1 August, 1834 i.e. a list of Britain's 46,000 slave owners.

The Great Reform Act - Formal Exclusion Of Women From Voting

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

By 1831, apparently only circa 4,500 people could vote in parliamentary elections and, industrial (and profitable) towns like Manchester and Birmingham, had no Members of Parliament to represent them. In order to vote, a person had to own property or pay certain taxes to qualify. In 1831, the House of Commons passed a Reform Bill, but the House of Lords, dominated by the Tory party, defeated it. This was followed by riots and serious disturbances in London, Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Yeovil, Sherborne, Exeter and Bristol.

The Representation of the People Act 1832 (the first Reform Act) included:

  • Extending the vote to all householders who paid a yearly rental of £10 or more and some lodgers.
  • Incredulously, but quoted from the official UK parliament website: "The formal exclusion of women from voting in Parliamentary elections, as a voter was defined in the Act as a MALE person. Before 1832, there were occasional, although rare, instances of women voting."

NB - 86 years later? In 1918, Women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote - The Representation of the People Act of 1918 granted the vote to women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification. The same Act, however, gave the vote to all men over the age of 21 and abolished almost all property qualifications for men.

The Poor Law Amendment Act

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 amended the Poor Law of 1601 and ensured that the poor were housed in workhouses, clothed and fed. Children who entered the workhouse would receive some schooling. In return for this care, all workhouse paupers would have to work for "several hours" each day. The conditions of Victorian workhouses are infamously harsh:

  • 1830s - The majority of parishes had at least one workhouse which would operate with prison-like conditions.
  • 1835 - The first purpose-built workhouse to be erected under the new Poor Law Act was at Abingdon (Abingdon Union Workhouse), in 1835.
  • 1879 – The Rhayader workhouse in Wales was the last workhouse to open in England and Wales under the Poor Law Act 1834
  • 1929 - Local Government Act 1929 - abolished the system of poor law unions in England and Wales and their boards of guardians, transferring their powers to local authorities.
  • 1948 - The National Assistance Act 1948 abolished the Poor Law Act. The Act set out to ensure that assistance was given to people, over the age of 16 years, who were not making National Insurance contributions and were 'without resource'.

First Women To Be Awarded An RNLI Medal For Gallantry - Grace Darling

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) was founded in 1824 and some women served as volunteers. In 1838, Grace Darling became the first woman to receive a RNLI Medal for Gallantry after risking her life to save stranded survivors of the stricken steamship SS Forfarshire, which had been wrecked just off Longstone Rock, Northumberland. In ferocious weather, Grace and her father William, the lighthouse keeper, made two trips to the wreck, saving the lives of 9 people. Grace Darling received several awards, including a Silver Medal for Gallantry from the RNLI and Gold Medal of Bravery from the Royal Humane Society and, became a national heroine.

  • 1969: The first trained female crew member at the RNLI - Elizabeth Hostvedt. Elizabeth was a student at Atlantic College, an international boarding school in Llantwit Major, Wales. The college's staff and male students manned the RNLI Atlantic College Lifeboat Station. Elizabeth requested to join the crew but was met with resistance, as there were doubts over whether a woman had the stamina to man a lifeboat in strong gales and, would have the strength to pull heavy bodies from the water. On passing a full medical test and demonstrating she had the "physique to stand up to an arduous service", in 1969, Elizabeth Hostvedt became the first trained female crew member of a RNLI lifeboat.

Mothers Permitted To Petition Courts For Custody Of Her Children

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In the majority of divorce cases, child custody was awarded to the father. A campaign to change the law was led by Caroline Norton, whose marriage to a violent husband had failed. After leaving her husband, her husband, George Norton (a Tory member of parliament for Guildford), refused Caroline access to her three children. Caroline Norton's subsequent protests were instrumental in the passing of the The Custody of Infants Act 1839. The Custody of Infants Act of 1839 permitted a mother to petition the courts for custody of her children up to the age of seven, and for access in respect of older children.

First Female Art School UK

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Royal Female School of Art was founded in 1842 as part of the Government School of Design (predecessor of the Royal College of Art), to equip female students to gain an income from work as artists, art teachers, designers and illustrators. The first Headmistress of the Female School of Art was Fanny McIan, an English artist.

The Mines and Collieries Act (1842), prohibited all underground work in mines for women and girls, and for boys under the age of 10.

UK's First Cookbook For Domestic Audiences - Eliza Acton

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Eliza Acton's pioneering cookbook Modern Cookery for Private Families, published in 1845, was the first book of recipes aimed at the home cook rather than a professional chef. It was also the FIRST recipe book to list the ingredients and quantities required and cooking times – separately from the method. Indeed Eliza's trailblazing cookbook established the format for modern writing about cookery and became a best-seller.

  • 1747 - The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy "By a LADY" (Hannah Glasse (1708 – 1770)) was published in 1747 and was written in plain language so that servants would be able to understand it. The book ran through at least 40 editions, making Hannah Glasse one of the most famous cookbook authors of her time.
  • 1769 - The Experienced English Housekeeper by Elizabeth Raffald (1733 – 1781) was published in 1769 and contained some 900 recipes. Though the recipes gave instructions to the cook, they did not contain lists of ingredients! It is thought that this cookbook introduced the first known recipe for a wedding cake covered in marzipan and royal icing. The book ran through at least 13 editions.
  • 1861 - Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton (1836 – 1865) was published in 1861. The book not only covers the duties of the "mistress" of the house, the housekeeper, and the cook but also contains recipes, many of which were copied from the most successful cookbooks of the day. Editions?

Women's Working Hours Limited To 58 Hours P/W

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Working hours in factories was horrific with some women and children working up to 14 to 16 hour days, 6 days a week and often in horrendous conditions. The Factory Act of 1847 stipulated that women and children between the ages of 13 and 18, as of:

  • 1 July 1847, could work only 63 hours per week
  • 1 May 1848, could work only 58 hours per week, the equivalent of 10 hours per day.

In 2021, according to the UK "working time regulations", one can't work more than 48 hours a week on average. If you're under 18, you can't work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. There are exceptions such as working in the armed forces, emergency services or police.

1853 - 1856:
Nurses Of The Crimea War

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The key nurses in Crimea were Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole, Betsi Cadwaladr and Sister Mary Clare Moore

Not only did women face sexism they also faced racism! On the outbreak of the Crimean War, wishing to assist with nursing the British wounded, Jamaican-Scottish Mary Seacole (an experienced "doctresses") applied to the War Office to be included among the nursing contingent but was refused FOUR times, because of her skin colour. Defiant, as she had a sincere love for British soldiers, she fought for finances, travelled independently and set up her hotel, "The British Hotel" in 1855, and tended with huge warmth and compassion to the battlefield wounded. Mary Seacole was so loved by the service personnel, they raised money for her when she faced destitution after the war. In 1857 a four-day fundraising gala took place in London to honour Seacole attended by 40,000, including veterans.

Fook the Florence Nightingale vs Mary Seacole debate. Fook prejudicism. Both were different kinds of nurses BUT both women did their utmost to help the British Army and it's wounded and, BOTH were much loved by the British Army.

Women's Right To File For A Divorce

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Before 1857, divorce was largely open only to men, and had to be granted by an Act of Parliament, which was hugely expensive, and therefore open only to mega rich, men. The 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act allowed ordinary people to divorce. Under The 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act, women divorcing on the grounds of adultery not only had to prove their husbands had been unfaithful but also had to prove additional faults, such as cruelty and rape.

  • 1923 - A private members' bill made it easier for women to petition for divorce for adultery, but she still had to be prove it.
  • 1937 - With the Matrimonial Causes Act 1937, divorce was allowed on other grounds including drunkenness, insanity and desertion.
  • 1969 - The Divorce Reform Act 1969, allowed couples to divorce after they had been separated for two years (or five years if only one of them wanted a divorce). It remained necessary to prove one of a limited number of statutory conditions in order to obtain a divorce.
  • 1973 - Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the parties must have been married for at least one year. There was one ground on which a divorce petition could be made, which is that the marriage had broken down irretrievably (adultery, "unreasonable behaviour", desertion and separation).
  • 1996 - Family Law Act 1996 - The law intended to modernise divorce and to shift slightly towards "no fault" divorce from previously, the fault-based approach.

First Woman To Practise Medicine In Britain - Dr Elizabeth Blackwell

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Dr Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman officially registered by the General Medical Council (GMC) in 1858. Dr Elizabeth Blackwell had studied at an American medical school and was therefore permitted to register through a clause which allowed women with foreign medical degrees to practise as medical doctors in the UK. After being rejected from several medical schools, she turned to The Society of Apothecaries (later renamed to The British Medical Association) to request permission to sit their Licentiate examination which would enable her to register as a medical practitioner in the UK. The Apothecaries sought legal advice in an attempt to exclude her from their Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries (LSA) examination but they were unable to refuse her under the terms of their Charter. Elizabeth Blackwell passed the exam on 28 September 1865 and was therefore eligible to practise as a doctor.

First Nursing School

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Florence Nightingale established The Nightingale School of Nursing in 1860 at St Thomas' Hospital, London - the first nursing school in the world. The School is now part of King's College, London, and known as The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery.

The First Female Art Student at the RCA - Laura Herford

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Though The Royal Academy Of Arts was founded, in 1768, it excluded women art students until 1862. In 1862, Laura Herford sent in a drawing for approval signed only with her initials, L. Herford. The application was accepted before anyone twigged that she was a woman! Thus Laura Herford became the first female art student at the RCA. Until the 1890s, female art students were barred at The Royal Academy Of Arts from life drawing classes.

First "Mother and Baby Homes"

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

"Mother and Baby Homes" were institutions where unmarried women were sent to have their babies. Many of the unmarried women arrived destitute having been denied support by the child's father, and even by their own family who were shamed by the pregnancy outside of wedlock. One of the earliest "Mother and Baby Homes" was the 'Refuge for Deserted Mothers and Home for their Illegitimate Infants', opened in London in 1864 by Mrs Jane Dean Main, with the support of the Female Mission to the Fallen.

  • 1990: The last "Mother and Baby Home" - closed in Northern Ireland, in 1990
  • 2015: The Irish Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation - was established by the Irish Government in February 2015, following ghastly revelations about the deaths and burials of hundreds of children at The Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway. The investigation sought to provide a comprehensive account of what happened to vulnerable women and children in Irish "Mother and Baby Homes" during the period 1922 to 1998.
  • 2018: Irish apology for "Mother and Baby Homes" - the then Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, apologised for illegal adoptions.
  • 2017: UK government refused to aplogise for "Mother and Baby Homes" - The UK government rejected a demand for a public inquiry regarding "Mother and Baby Homes", saying there was "insufficient justification".
  • 2021: Irish "Mother and Baby Homes" report - The Irish government published the report, in 2021, which examined conditions at eight Irish "Mother and Baby Homes" during the period between 1922 and 1990. The report found that though many of the women were unmarried teenagers when they became pregnant, a number were the victims of sexual crime, including rape and incest. The Mothers were required to undertake tough chores late into pregnancy and had little preparation for childbirth. Begs disbelief - many women and girls were separated from their children by placing them in children's homes, boarding them out (fostering) or through adoption.
  • 2021: Demands for UK "Mother and Baby Homes" apology - Hundreds of women who were forced to give up babies for adoption during 1950 - 70s, are now demanding a formal UK government apology.

In the UK, an estimated quarter of a million women in "Mother and Baby Homes" were coerced into having their babies adopted.

First Woman Awarded A Medical Qualification - Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

After studying hard and passing her exam Elizabeth Garrett Anderson obtained a licence (LSA) from the Society of Apothecaries to practise medicine. Upon realising that a woman had been awarded a medical qualification for her studies in midwifery in 1865, the Society of Apothecaries (later the British Medical Association) amended its regulations to prevent other women obtaining a licence.

Early Suffrage Movement

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The first mass women's suffrage petition to the House of Commons - on 7 June 1866, MP John Stuart Mill, presented the first mass women's suffrage petition to the House of Commons. The petition by 1,499 women called for women's suffrage, and was brought to Parliament by Emily Davies and Elizabeth Garrett. Although this petition was unsuccessful, the Fawcett Society (a membership charity which campaigns for women's rights, founded in 1866) marks this as the start of the organised campaign for the vote for women. See Suffrage societies.

First Women To Attend a UK University

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In June 1868, The University of London's Senate voted to admit women to sit a "General Examination", becoming the world's first university to accept women. In 1868, 9 women (The London Nine) were admitted to the University of London. This was the first time in Britain that women had gained entrance to university education. In May 1869, The London Nine sat not a degree exam but, a university exam - The "General Examination for Women" which was formidable test demanding proficiency in at least 6 subjects from Greek to chemistry. It would be another 10 years until women were allowed to take exams alongside men.

The London Nine paved the way for female university students: Marian Belcher (became a headmistress), Louise Hume von Glehn (wrote popular historical biographies and campaigned for working women and in the suffrage movement), Hendilah Lawrence, Sarah Jane Moody (founded a preparatory school), Eliza Orme (became the first woman to earn a law degree in England), Kate Spiller (joined her local school board), Mary Anna Baker Watson (became a governess and school teacher), Isabella de Lancy West (studied at Bedford College) and Susannah Wood (taught mathematics and became the vice-principal of the Cambridge Training College for Women (later Hughes Hall, Cambridge).

  • 1892: The first female professor of a higher education institution, in the UK - Emma Ritter-Bondy was made Professor of Piano at The Glasgow Athenaeum School of Music, which is now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in 1892.
  • 1908: One of the first women professors in a British university - Edith Julia Morley was Professor of English Language at the University of Reading from 1908 to 1940.
  • 1910: The UK's First University Professor - in 1910, Millicent Mackenzie was promoted to professor of Education for Women at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire. Not only did she become Wales' first woman professor, she became the first woman to be a professor at a fully chartered university in the UK.
  • 1920: Oxford Uni - became the second-to-last university in the UK to allow women to become full members and take degrees; previously, they had been allowed to study there, but had not been given an equivalent award to men.
  • 1948: Cambridge Uni - finally allowed women to become full members and take degrees.

First Women Admitted To Study Medicine

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The "Edinburgh Seven" were the first women admitted to study medicine in Britain when they enrolled in 1869 BUT they were banned from graduating as medics, after academics voted against it. BTW: St Bartholomew's Hospital, London was founded in 1123 and is one of the oldest hospitals in the UK.

Though Medical Uni doors were closed to women, in 1869, Sophia Jex-Blake was determined to study medicine. Scotland seemed to have enlightened attitudes towards women's education. At first Sophia was politely refused by the University of Edinburgh, on the grounds that Edinburgh Uni couldn't make the necessary arrangements "in the interest of one lady". Undeterred, she placed adverts in newspapers in order to find other ladies to study Medicine. Six ladies replied: Mary Anderson, Emily Bovell, Matilda Chaplin, Helen Evans, Edith Pechey and Isabel Thorne. Thus was born "The Edinburgh Seven" - the first seven female medical students ever to be admitted to a British university.

The "Edinburgh Seven" were admitted to the Edinburgh Medical School in 1869, but had to take separate classes, from their male medical students and were charged higher fees than the boys. Not only did The "Edinburgh Seven" receive abuse in the form of obscene letters, being spat, shouted names at, and intimidated, on the 18 November 1870 when the women arrived to sit an anatomy exam at Surgeons' Hall an angry mob of over 200 gathered outside, who throw mud, rubbish and insults at The "Edinburgh Seven" which became known as the "Surgeons' Hall riot". Moreover, one by one their medical tutors refused to teach them, leading to the courses being eventually suspended.

In 1873, The "Edinburgh Seven" unsuccessfully sued Edinburgh University in the Court of Session - the Court of Session ruled in favour of the University's right to refuse the women degrees and also concluded the women should not even have been allowed to study at all. In 2019, on the 150th anniversary of their matriculation, the University of Edinburgh awarded posthumously The "Edinburgh Seven", honorary degrees (MBChB).

Married Women's Right To Keep Her Own Earnings

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Prior to 1870, married British women lived under the conditions of "Coverture". Coverture was a legal doctrine in common law whereby, upon marriage, a woman's legal rights and obligations were subsumed by those of her husband. This made a husband and wife ONE under the law and, gave husbands financial and legal control over their wives. On mariage and, under coverture, women lost all control of their property and were unable to buy, sell, own, or inherit anything they possessed. The pursuit of a career was almost impossible for women because under coverture they had no ability to sign contracts, have legal control over incomes, or other processes that are essential to earning income. These conditions were not applied to unmarried (single and widowed) women, who had marginal autonomy under the law for owning property.

The Married Women's Property Act 1870 offered married women the right to be the legal owners of: the money they earned (through their own work), investments independent of their husbands and inherit small sums, hold property either rented or inherited.

  • 1964: The Married Women's Property Act 1964 - entitled a wife to keep half of any savings (and any property derived from that money) she had made from the allowance / housekeeping she was given by her husband. Previously any housekeeping savings was legally considered to be her husband's money only and, so reverted back to him.

Elementary Education For All Children Aged 5-13 - The Elementary Education Act (Forster's Education Act) of 1870, sponsored by William Forster, was the first of a number of acts of parliament passed between 1870 and 1893 to provide a framework for compulsory and elementary education for ALL children aged 5-13 in England and Wales. Parents who could afford had to pay fees, and for those who could not, the state paid.

First Medical School To Train Women Doctors

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The London School of Medicine for Women (now the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine), founded in 1874 by Sophia Jex-Blake, was the first medical school in Britain to train women as doctors.

The Women's Protective and Provident League (later renamed the Women's Trade Union League) - founded in 1874 was a British organisation promoting a trade union for women workers. It was established by Emma Paterson, who had been inspired by unions managed by working women in America.

  • 1875: First woman TUC delegate - Emma Paterson became the first woman TUC (The Trades Union Congress) delegate. The TUC had been founded in 1868 to support trade unions to grow and thrive.
  • 2013: First woman general secretary of the TUC - Frances O'Grady.

The Fight To Publish A Pamphlet On Birth Control

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In 1877, Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh republished The Fruits of Philosophy (1832) by American physician Charles Knowlton who had written the pamphlet-style guide to inform his patients about contraception and sex education (a summary of what was then known about the physiology of conception).

The Fruits of Philosophy had been illegal in America as the United States law prohibited the publishing of immoral and obscene material, which bizarrely included information about contraception. Moreover, it was vigorously opposed by the Church. Though the pamphlet had been published for the first time in Britain by James Watson's in 1845, when Charles Watts republished The Fruits of Philosophy, in 1876, Charles Watts was prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act 1857. The Obscene Publications Act 1857 was a landmark in obscenity control in England, as it represented the first serious attempt by the legislature to regulate the distribution and circulation of obscene publications.

In protest of Charles Watts' prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act, Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh republished The Fruits of Philosophy, in 1877. They too were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, the infamous "Knowlton Trial" of Bradlaugh and Besant. Though they were bpth found guilty, the verdict was eventually overturned.

Not only had Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh fought for the right for information on birth control to be published and not be considered an "Obscene Publication", the publicity from the their trial made The Fruits of Philosophy an overnight bestseller. Read more about The Fruits of Philosophy.

Protection for Victims of Marital Violence

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1878 allowed women who were the victims of male violence in marriage to obtain a protection order from a magistrates' court. Though it was not a divorce as such it was in effect a judicial separation and gave the women custody of their children. Moreover, it was not as costly as a divorce and so was accessible to working class women..

First British Univeristy To Award Degrees To Women

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In 1880, The University of London became the first British University to award degrees to Women. Previously university female students could only sit a "General Examination". In 1878, the University of London decided to allow women to take its degrees with UCL becoming the first British university to admit women on fully equal terms to men, in all faculties except Medicine.

  • 1866: The London Nine - in 1866, The London Nine were the first women to attend a UK University but sat a "General Examination" and not a degree at, London University.
  • 1914: Medical degree - Gertrude Herzfeld? Gertrude Herzfeld studied at the University of Edinburgh, qualifying in 1914 with an MB ChB degree. NB (and not meant rude) Elizabeth Blackwell though received a medical degree in 1849, it was from an American medical school.
  • 1880: BA degree - four women were the first to graduate with a BA degree from London University.
  • 1881: BSc degree - two women were the first to graduate with a BSc degree from London University.
  • 1884: DSc degree - in 1884, Sophie Bryant became the first woman to achieve a DSc in England in 1884, from London University.
  • 1888: Law degree - in 1888, Eliza Orme became the first woman UK to gain an Law degree, from University of London.
  • 1895: Dentistry degree - in 1895, Lilian Lindsay became the first woman in the UK to gain LDS (Hons), RCS Ed. degree, from Edinburgh University.
  • 1906: Engineering degree - in 1906, Alice Perry became the first woman in Europe to gain an engineering degree, from Royal University, Galway.
  • 1920: Oxford Univeristy - female students were given the right to be awarded degrees
  • 1922: Vet degree - in 1922, Aleen Cust became the first woman MRCVS.
  • 1948: Cambridge Univeristy - female students were given the right to be awarded degrees. The first female recipient of a Cambridge degree was the Queen Mother, who received an honorary degree

A Married Women's Right To Own And Control Property

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Until 1882, common law in Britain deprived women of the right to keep their own property. Besides other matters, The Married Women's Property Act 1882 allowed married women to own and control property in their own right.

First Police Matrons

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In 1883, The Metropolitan Police employed the first Police Matron. Police Matrons, were civilian women who were appointed to search, supervise and escort women prisoners held at police stations or the courts, and to prepare female bodies brought in to police station mortuaries for examination by the police surgeon.

  • 1915: The First Police Woman Officer - Edith Smith became the first British woman to be appointed a police officer with full powers of arrest.
  • 1919: The first Metropolitan Police Women Patrol - comes into service in London. 110 women were hired on an experimental contract, however, they were not granted the power to arrest.
  • 1921: The First Police Woman Constable - Clara Walkden of Oldham Borough Police became the first known sworn-in Police Woman Constable in the Greater Manchester area. Some authorities thought it was illegal for a woman to take the Oath of Constable, because they thought a woman was physically unable to carry out the arrest of a violent man. Shortly after Edith Smith's appointment, The Home Office advised that women could not be sworn in as police officers because they they were not deemed "proper persons" in the eyes of the law. This legal challenge was overcome by The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919.
  • 1923 - Power of arrest was granted to female police women.

First Woman To Gain A Law Degree In England & Wales - Eliza Orme

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Eliza Orme received her LLB degree from the University of London in 1888. Eliza Orme was one of "The London Nine" women who, in 1869, sat the first "General Examination for Women", at UCL but were not granted a degree which their fellow male students were awarded. In 1878, UCL reversed its policy and permitted women to receive receive degrees. Eliza Orme passed the first two exams for the Bachelor of Laws with honours, in 1878, and finally received her LLB degree from UCL in... 1888.

Referred to as "Portias" in the popular press, the women who graduated in law, prior to The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 were legally trained, but unable to practice officially.

  • May 1922: The first woman to be called to the English bar - Ivy Williams, though she never practised law, she was the first woman to teach law at a British university.
  • November 1922: The first woman to practice as a barrister in England - Helena Normanton was the first woman to practice as a barrister, the first woman to obtain a divorce for her client, the first woman to lead the prosecution in a murder trial, and the first woman to conduct a trial in America and to appear at the High Court and the Old Bailey.
  • 1945: The first woman to be appointed to the professional judiciary full-time in Britain - Sybil Campbell became a stipendiary magistrate at Tower Bridge Magistrates' Court in 1945.
  • 1988: The first woman Law Lord - Elizabeth Butler-Sloss became the first woman Law Lord when she is appointed an Appeal Court Judge in 1988.
  • 2017: The first female President of the Supreme Court - Brenda Marjorie Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond became the the first female President of the Supreme Court in 2017

The Match Girls' Strike

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Match Girls' Strike of 1888 was industrial action taken up by around 1,500 women workers of the Bryant and May factory (Bow, London) against the dangerous and unrelenting working conditions and poor pay.

In the late nineteenth century, the matchmaking industry was booming. Across the country, thousands of women and children of 13 years of age upwards, worked gruelling 14 hour shifts in perilously dangerous conditions for meagre wages and experienced bulling and excessive fines. During their shifts, the match workers stood all day long with only two scheduled breaks - any unscheduled toilet breaks would be deducted from their wages.

With disregard to health and safety regulations, match workers were forced to operate dangerous machinery and some, lost their fingers. Moreover, during the matchmaking production both ends of the match sticks were dipped, by hand, into hazardous chemicals: sulphur and then into a composition comprising white phosphorus, potassium chlorate, antimony sulphide, powdered glass and colouring. When a match worker inhaled heated phosphorus they could develop toothache and swelling of the gums. Over time, the jaw bone would begin to suffer phosphorus necrosis also known as "phossy jaw" which destroys the bones of a jaw. In some chronic cases, "phossy jaw" also affected the brain, provoking seizures. Fully aware of "phossy jaw", Bryant and May told employees to to remove their tooth as soon as anyone complained of tooth ache. If anyone dared refuse, they would be fired. Bryant and May was one of 25 match factories in the country, of which only two did not use white phosphorus in their production technique.

On 23 June 1888, an article in The Link newspaper, by social activist Annie Besant, exposed the brutal conditions of the Bryant and May factory, which prompted the management to force signatures from its workers refuting the claims. Many workers refused to sign. When a worker was unfairly dismissed (on another matter), approximately 1,400 women and girls refused to work. Quickly Bryant & May offered to reinstate the sacked employee but the women then demanded other concessions, particularly in relation to the unfair fines which were deducted from their wages. Unsatisfied with the management's response, by 6 July the whole factory had stopped work. The strike received a lot of publicity - Charles Bradlaugh MP brought it up in parliament and a deputation of match women went to parliament to meet three MPs on 11 July.

Effects of the Match Girls' Strike

  • 1888 - a week after the strikes, Bryant and May offered improvements to pay and working conditions, and "abolished" their stringent fining practices, yet they still continued to use phosphorus in the production of match sticks.
  • 1888? - the creation of a union for the women to join, which was extremely rare as female workers did not tend to be unionised.
  • 1891 - a new match factory was set up by the Salvation Army in Bow offering better wages, working conditions and the use of white phosphorus was removed from the production process. The match factory, however, was taken over, ironically by Bryant and May, in 1901.
  • 1908 - the House of Commons finally passed an act, in 1908, prohibiting the use of white phosphorus in matches. This is almost 70 years after the first case of "phossy jaw" being diagnosed by physician Lorinser of Vienna, in 1839. The patient was a female Viennese matchstick maker who had been exposed to phosphorus vapours for five years.

Female Art Students Allowed to Draw Male Models in Life Drawing Classes

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In 1893, at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, female art students were finally allowed to draw live male models, BUT, only if the male model was wearing fabric which wrapped around his bathing trunks. Prior to this, men could draw both male and female nudes while women were confined to drawing male anatomy from... casts!

Right To Vote For: Women Who Owned Property

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Local Government Act 1894 entitled women who owned property the right to vote in local elections, become Poor Law Guardians and serve on School Boards.

First Female To Qualify As A Dentist - Lilian Lindsay

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Lilian Lindsay was the first female to qualify as a dentist in the UK, in 1895. As no English dental school would accept a female, Lilian Lindsay had to take her LDS (The Licence in Dental Surgery) in Scotland, at the Edinburgh Dental Hospital and School. Previously, in 1892, she had applied to the National Dental Hospital in Great Portland Street, London - the then Dean, Henry Weiss, refused to admit her because she was a woman and was concerned that... she would distract the male students!

On qualifying in 1895, Lilian Lindsay spent ten years practising dentistry in London and in 1946, she became the first-ever female president of The British Dental Association.

  • 1912: The first women to qualify as a dentist in England - Lily Fanny Pain.

First Women's Football Match - Crouch End

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The history of women in boys-only sports is understandbly vague, and, as a consequence, there is very little information on when women started playing boys-only sports.

The British Ladies' Football Club was established in 1895. In front of an estimated crowd of 11,000, the Ladies' club's first public match took place at Crouch End, London on 23 March 1895, between teams representing 'The North' and 'The South'. Wohoo: 'The North' won 7-1.

  • 1920: The first women's international football game - kicked off, in front of a crowd of 25,000. Preston-based Dick Kerr's Ladies beat a French XI 2-0.
  • 1969: The Women's Football Association (WFA) - was formed with 44 member clubs.
  • 1991: The WFA launched a national league - which kicked-off with 24 clubs.

Some keystones in Womens Sports in the UK


  • 1722: One of the first female prize fights in London - Elizabeth Wilkinson challenged Hannah Hyfield.
  • 1880: Woman boxing was banned - in Britain, in 1880.
  • 1904: Olympic Women's boxing "display" sport - Women's boxing first appeared in the 1904 Olympic Games as a "display" sport, but was banned in most nations, including the UK.
  • 1996: England Amateur Boxing - The Amateur Boxing Association of England lifted its 116-year ban and allowed women to compete and join its affiliated clubs.
  • 1998: The first officially licensed British female boxer - Jane Couch, MBE. Initially The British Boxing Board of Control refused to grant Jane Couch a professional licence on ground's that she was a woman, and argued that PMS made women too unstable to box! Claiming sexual discrimination and supported by the Equal Opportunities Commission, Jane Couch had this decision overturned by a tribunal in March 1998.
  • 2009: Women's boxing as an Olympic sport - Women's boxing was added to the list of Olympic sports for the London Games in 2012.


  • 1884: The first record of women playing rugby - in 1884, the Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Ireland rugby team included Emily Valentine.
  • 1917: The first official charity rugby match featuring female teams - Cardiff Ladies and Newport Ladies took place at Cardiff Arms Park.
  • 1962: The first ever recorded women's rugby union team - was formed at Edinburgh University.
  • 1983: Womens' Rugby Football Union - was formed with 12 founder teams


  • 1745: The first recorded women's cricket match - was played in 1745, between the women of two Surrey villages, Bramley and Hambledon. The teams distinguished themselves by the colour of their hair ribbons.
  • 1887: One of the first women's cricket clubs - the White Heather Club, was formed by ladies of the Yorkshire aristocracy.
  • 1926: The Women's Cricket Association - was formed in 1926
  • 1935: The first woman to score a century in a women's test match - Myrtle MacLagan during the England vs Australia game in Sydney
  • 1976: The first women's cricket match was played at Lord's - on August 4, 1976 England played against Australia.
  • 1979: The first women's Test match - Lord's Cricket Ground staged its first women's Test match in 1979, between England and Australia. The Lord's Cricket Ground, is the world's oldest cricket ground was opened in 1814


  • ? - The first woman fencing match UK - ?
  • 1924 - women's fencing was accepted into the Olympic programme in Paris in 1924 but featured only the individual women's foil event.
  • 1956 - GB's Gillian Sheen won a gold medal in the women's individual foil event at the 1956 Summer Olympics.
  • 1960 - women's team foil event was not recognised until 1960 (Rome).
  • 1996 - women's individual epée became an Olympic event in 1996 (Atlanta).
  • 2004 - women's individual sabre became an Olympic event only in 2004 (Athens)


  • 1884 - The first Ladies' Singles Championship held at Wimbledon was in 1884 (seven years after the first Men's Championship). It was won by Maud Watson who beat ... her sister! And her prize? As Wimbledon Ladies' Singles Champion, she won ... a silver flower basket "value 20 guineas".

A Timeline of Women's Rights UK: 20c

Women's Right To Vote, Petition

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

A delegation of women's textile workers from Northern England (The Lancashire and Cheshire Women Textile) presented to Parliament, a 37,000 signatory petition demanding votes for women.

WSPU's 'Deeds not words'

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

With The Local Government Act 189, only women who owned property could vote in local elections. In 1903, Emmeline Pankhurst, her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, and Annie Kearney founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), in Manchester, with the motto 'Deeds not words', to fight for votes for ALL women. The term "suffragette" was coined by a reporter, derived from "suffragist", to belittle the women advocating women's suffrage in an 1906 article for the Daily Mail. The Ladies took it on board!

  • 1908: First suffragette railing - Miss Nell chained herself to the railings outside the Prime Minister's front door.
  • 1908: First suffragette mass march - 250,000 people gathered in Hyde Park, London in support of women's suffrage.
  • 1909: First suffragette to go on hunger strike - Marion Dunlop. On detention in prison Wallace Dunlop started a "Release or Death hunger-strike.
  • 1912: Hundreds of Suffragettes attacked shops on Oxford Street and The Strand smashing windows with hammers.
  • 1912: "Cat and Mouse" Act - The "Cat and Mouse" Act was enacted in Britain, allowing the government to temporarily discharge Suffragette prisoners who were on hunger strike, until they were fit enough... to be imprisoned again.
  • 1913: Suffragette martyrdom? During the Derby at Epsom racecourse, Emily Davison ran on to the racecourse and died. Did she only wish to attach a suffragette scarf to the bridle of the royal racehorse, Anmer? Famously, captured on film - she was was fatally injured.

Britain's first female motor racing driver - Dorothy Elizabeth Levitt became the first British woman to compete in a speed competition in October 1903 at the Southport Speed Trials. In 1906, Blackpool, she became known as "the fastest girl on earth" when she set a new world speed record for women of 91mph in a 40-foot steel-hulled, Napier-engine speedboat.

First Trade Union For Women

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The National Federation of Women Workers was set up by Mary MacArthur as a trade union for Women.

  • 1909: The Trade Boards Act 1909- With many other women's organisations, The National Federation of Women Workers campaigned to expose the evils of the sweat-shop trades. They played a major role in persuading the government to pass The Trade Boards Act 1909, which was an attempt to fix minimum wages in certain of the most exploitative trades, usually the ones in which women predominated.

Woman Elected Onto Borough & County Councils

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Qualification of Women Act 1907 - clarified the right of certain women ratepayers to be elected onto Borough and County Councils and that they could also be elected as Mayor in England and Wales. The Act also gave widows and unmarried women the right to stand anywhere in local government.

  • 1908: The first woman mayor in England and first female mayor of Aldeburgh - Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.
  • 1983: The first woman Lord Mayor of London - Lady Mary Donaldson.

Rape as a War Crime - The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 were the first multilateral treaties that addressed the conduct of warfare. Article 46 of the Hague Convention of 1907 stated Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice must be respected. Though rape is not specifically mentioned, this provision was long relied on as it's prohibition. The Hague Convention was an adaptation of the Lieber Code. The Lieber Code was signed and issued by President Abraham Lincoln on 24 April 1863, to regulate the conduct of the Union army during the American Civil War and under article 44, specifically included "rape" and made it punishable by the death penalty.

Rape has been a war crime for hundreds of years. There are however, rare cases in history of rape during international war being considered as illegal. In the 1470s, Peter von Hagenbach, a mercenary soldier serving the Duke of Burgundy, was convicted of war crimes for raping and killing innocent civilians.

  • 1945/6: The International Military Tribunal for Nuremberg - Shockingly, sexual crimes in general and specifically sexual crimes against women were excluded from Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Article 6(c) CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.
  • 1945/6: The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal - charged rape as an offense via the regulation attached to the Hague Provisions relating to "family honour."
  • 1949: The Geneva Conventions, Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention - relating to the protection of civilian persons in time of war, states: Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault.
  • The United Nations Security Council
    • 1995: International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) - more than seventy individuals have been charged with crimes of sexual violence including sexual assault and rape.
    • 1994: International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda (ICTR) - was the first institution to recognise rape as a means of perpetrating genocide.
  • 1998: Statute of the International Criminal Court - specifically prohibits rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization and other forms of sexual violence Article 7(1)g) ; crimes against humanity; Article 8(2)(b)(xxii); war crimes in international armed conflict; Article 8(2)(e)(vi); war crimes in non-international armed conflict.
  • 2008: The UN Security Council - adopted Resolution 1820, which states that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.

Girl Guides

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Girl Guides is the UK's largest girl-only youth organisation. In 1909, a group of girls appeared at a Boy Scout Rally in the UK declaring themselves to be Girl Scouts. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, decided that there should be a Movement for girls. The Girl Guide Association was officially established in the UK in 1910, for girls from 10-14, under the leadership of Robert Baden-Powell's sister, Agnes Baden-Powell.

  • 1914: The Rosebuds (renamed to Brownies in 1915) was founded in 1914 and was originally for girls aged 8–11.
  • 1937: Princess Margaret became the first royal Brownie.
  • 1976: Girls first joined the (boys) Scout Movement in 1976 as Venture Scouts.
  • 1991: UK Scouting became fully mixed.

First British Woman To Pass Her Flying Test - Hilda B Hewlett

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Hilda B Hewlett became the first British woman to pass her flying test. Though women were not banned from flying, training was hugely expensive.

First UK Birth Control Clinic

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

On 17th March 1921, Marie Stopes and her husband, Humphrey Verdon Roe, founded the first birth-control clinic in Britain, The Mothers' Clinic for Constructive Birth Control, which was free and open to all married women for education about birth-control methods and reproductive health. Attracted by posters announcing the opening of the clinic, on the first day that the clinic in Holloway, London opened, a queue of women had formed.

During the 30s, Marie established a network of regional birth-control clinics in Leeds, Aberdeen, Belfast, Cardiff and Swansea which were modelled after the London Clinic. In addition, Marie provided two horse-drawn Caravan Birth-control Clinics that travelled to small towns which were the first mobile birth-control clinics in the world.

Glasgow Women's Rent Strikes

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

With the lack of social housing, families across the UK, in 1915, were at the mercy of private landlords who could hike rents and evict tenants at will with little restriction. During WWI, as demand for war workers in Glasgow's shipyards, engineering workshops and munitions factories increased, the demand for housing rocketed with the influx of workers.

Though many tenements flats were overcrowded, of a poor standard and in need of repair, some rascal Glasgow's landlords sought to exploit the situation. In February 1915, some Glasgow landlords informed tenants that all rents would be increased by a... whopping 25%. This was on top of rising food prices. Those left at home, mostly woman and children, and with their primary breadwinners' fighting in an awful war, were struggling financially. This led to protests and, The Glasgow Women's Rent Strikes of 1915:

  • February 1915 - local women formed the Glasgow Women's Housing Association to fight rent rises. The campaign was effectively organised by women who used propaganda and meetings to get their message across.
  • May 1915 - the first rent strike began. Soon, about 25,000 tenants in Glasgow had joined.
  • Factory workers- began to strike for wage increases, putting the government under pressure.
  • December 1915 - Lloyd George passed the Rent Restrictions Act which ​froze rent at 1914 levels unless improvements had been made to the property.

The first Women's Institute in Britain - was founded in Llanfairpwll, North Wales. The Women's Institute was initially set-up to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Now the Women's Institute campaigns nationally on a wide range of issues and provide life-long learning and self-development opportunities for women in England and Wales.

The Formation of The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The first all-women unit in the British Army - The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, headed by Controller Alexandra Chalmers Watson, was formed in response to the manpower crisis in WWI. On 31 March 1917, the first women arrived to carry out support duties in France and Belgium. It was later renamed The Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC) and, was officially disbanded in 1920.

  • 1639-51: Civil Wars of Britain - as so many women disguised themselves as soldiers to fight in the Civil Wars, King Charles I issued a proclamation banning women from wearing men's military clothing.
  • 1914: The first WWI female spy for the British? - Marthe McKenna was recruited by the British Intelligence Service as a spy after the German invasion of her village Westroosebeke, Belgium in August 1914 and held the cover as a hospital nurse.
  • 1917: The first all-women unit in the British Army - The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1917. It was later renamed The Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC).
  • 29 May 1918: First British women die on active military service - Nine QMAACs died after a German bombing raid on Abbeville, France.
  • 1921: QMAAC - was disbanded in 1921.
  • 1938: The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) - was formed as the women's branch of the British Army in 1938. By the end of WWII, over 190,000 women were members of the ATS.
  • 1939: First British WWII female spy - Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, was the first woman to work for Britain as a special agent during the Second World War. She was the daughter of a Polish aristocrat and Jewish banking heiress.
  • 1949 - 1992: The Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC) - was formed in 1949 as a successor to the ATS. WRAC women served in over 40 trades in operations across the world. Their many roles included patrolling with arms and explosive search dogs.
  • 1999: The first female brigadier - Patricia Purves became the first woman to gain the rank of brigadier.
  • 2016: The ban on women serving in some parts of the Royal Armoured Corps was lifted in July 2016.
  • 2018: All combat roles open to womem - British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that all combat roles were open to women, including infantry and special forces units.

The first all-women unit in the Royal Naval - The Women's Royal Naval Service was formed in 1917 as a branch of the Royal Navy. It disbanded, after the end of WWI in 1919 but reformed in 1939 after Hitler invaded Poland. The service was disbanded fully in 1993 when women were allowed to join the Royal Navy.

The Women's Land Army (WLA) - During WWI, in March 1917 a national appeal was made for young women who could work in agriculture, to enrol in a new Women’s Land Army – a civilian organisation staffed and run by women – as part of the National Service Scheme. The Women's Land Army was by organised Dame Meriel Lucy Talbot, DBE. Between March 1917 and May 1919, 23,000 women became official full-time members of the Women's Land Army, a small but significant part of the 300,000 women who by 1918 were working on the land. The Women's Land Army was officially disbanded on 30 November 1919. It was revived from the disbanded World War One organisation on 1st June 1939 so that it could again organise women to replace workers called up to the military. From June 1939 until November 1950, over 200,000 Land Girls worked in the WLA.

Bonnie Lassies In Troosers

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Yeh, daring women had been wearing trousers before, but, most working class women's experience of wearing trousers was during WWI (1914–18) when many civilian women took over jobs traditionally held by men who were off, fighting the awful war. In some jobs it made sense for women to adopt the working attire of men like overalls. During WW II (1939–45), trousers were more widely worn by civilian and military women, both at work and socially. Thanks to the women's liberation movement, women wearing trousers took-off in the 1960s and 1970s.

Girls Wearing Trousers In Schools

In the UK, according to gov.uk, each school decides its uniform, but, must not discriminate based on sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief. So individual UK schools decide if girls can wear trousers. Source: https://www.gov.uk/school-uniform. Plenty of schools in the UK, still enforce a skirts-only uniform for girls.

  • 2021: Wirral Grammar School for Girls - after a petition started by pupils at a single-sex school, Wirral Grammar School for Girls in Merseyside, in 2021, was signed by thousands of people, including MPs and celebrities, the girls are now permitted to wear trousers.
Women Wearing Trousers In Venues

It's still up to the venue host - but because of Equality Act 2010 it can be contested.

  • Henley Royal Regatta - 2021 - Women can now wear trousers at the Henley Royal Regatta everywhere after it changed its "draconian" dress code. The change comes after a petition launched by Oxford student and member of the University Women’s Boat Club, Georgina Grant, garnered 1,683 signatures. "Excluding, discriminatory and sexist dress codes are rife and we need to change this," she argued.
  • Ascot dress - Trouser suits are welcome. They should be of full-length to the ankle and of matching material and colour. Jumpsuits are welcome. They should fall below the knee, with regulations matching that for dresses.
Women Wearing Trousers In The Workplace

I still remember the unspoken workplace etiquette of having to wear a skirt at work. According to gov.uk, dress codes maybe sill be used in the workplace, in 2021, for example workers may be asked to wear a uniform to communicate a corporate image and ensure that customers can easily identify them and for health and safety reasons. An employer's dress code, however, must not be discriminatory in respect of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 for age, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

  • 2019 - Virgin Atlantic - female flight attendants on Virgin Atlantic couldn't wear trousers until 2019, thats three years later than British Airways dress code change.
  • 2020 - Hays Travel - the UK's largest independent travel firm, previously insisted that women must wear knee-length skirts at work but axed its uniform policy so female workers can wear trousers.

Right To Vote For: Women Over The Age Of 30

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Women over the age of 30 the right to vote - The Representation of the People Act of 1918 granted the vote to women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification. The same Act, however, gave the vote to all men over the age of 21 and abolished almost all property qualifications for men.

The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 - gave women over 21 the right to stand for election as a Member of Parliament.

  • 1918: First woman to be elected to the Commons - Constance Markievicz, in the general election of 1918. As a member of Sinn Fein, she did not take her seat in Parliament.
  • 1919: First women to take her seat in Parliament - American-born Nancy Astor (Viscountess Astor), after a by-election in December 1919. She was elected as a Conservative for the Plymouth Sutton constituency and held the seat until she stood down in 1945.
  • 1958: The Life Peerages Act - entitled women to sit in the House of Lords for the first time. Baroness Swanbourough, Lady Reading and Baroness Barbara Wooton were the first to take their seats.
  • 1980: 300 Group - Lesley Abdela formed the 300 Group to push for equal representation of women in the House of Commons.
  • 1981: First woman leader of the House of Lords - Baroness Young becomes the first woman leader of the House of Lords, in 1981.
  • 1987: First black woman to be elected to The House of Commons - Diane Abbott became the first black woman to be elected to The House of Commons, in 1987
  • 1992: First female Speaker in the House of Commons - Betty Boothroyd became the first female Speaker in the House of Commons, in 1992
  • 1997: First female Prime Minister - Margaret Thatcher became the UK's first woman Prime Minister, in 1997.

Other landmarks in 1918:

The Education Act 1918 raised the compulsory school leaving age for both girls and boys, to 14.

The Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) was formed in 1918, to support the RAF in administrative and, later, technical trades during WWI. 32,000 women served in The WRAF and covered over 50 trades. The WRAF disbanded in 1920.

The London transport women workers' strike, 1918 was formed in 1918, to support the RAF in administrative and, later, technical trades during WWI. 32,000 women served in The WRAF and covered over 50 trades. The WRAF disbanded in 1920.

The London transport women workers' strike of 1918: During WWI thousands of women were employed by tube, bus and tram operators across the UK. On August 16th, 1918, there was a meeting of women bus drivers and conductors at Willesden bus garage who decided to strike the following day seeking a 5s War bonus. Swiftly they were joined by women from other London depots/ garages i.e Hackney, Holloway, Archway and Acton. By the evening thousands of women had stopped work. As the strike continued they demanded also equal pay: 'Same work - same money'.

The strike spread like wildfire - by August 23rd, women bus and tram workers across England and Wales (at Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Hastings, Southend and South Wales) had joined in. About 18,000 women out of the 27,000 employed in the industry had stopped work! Women working on the tubes had stopped work on the same issue. The strike was settled on August 25th after a meeting at the Ring, Blackfriars, London and against very strong opposition, while the tube women remained out until the 28th of August. Though the women received the extra 5s War bonus they did not receive equal pay.

Bar On Women Serving As Lawyers, Judges or Magistrates Lifted

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 - abolished the previous bar on women serving as lawyers, judges or magistrates. It opened up much of the civil service to women and also made them liable to serve as jurors. Previously, women serving on ‘juries’ had been restricted to post-verdict fact-finding of a specialist, feminine nature e.g. "Is this woman pregnant?" not "Is this person guilty?" The 1919 reform enabled women to serve, for the first time, on trial and grand juries which actually determined whether an accused person was guilty.

One of the first women to benefit from the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 - was Helena Normanton. In 1918, Helena Normanton had applied to become a student at The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. The Middle Temple is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers. She was refused by the Bench, who considered her unable to become a lawyer on the basis of her sex. Helena Normanton lodged a petition with the House of Lords but this too was rejected. Within hours of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 coming into force, Helena Normanton reapplied and was admitted to the Inn.

International Labour Organisation (ILO) - was founded with the eight-hour day and 48-hour week as one of it's key objectives.

Women Banned From Playing On Football League Grounds

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The FA bans women from playing on Football League grounds: "... the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged"! Scroll down to see when the ban was lifted!

Unemployment benefits - were extended to include allowances for wives.

Lesbianism an act of "gross indecency"! - Apparently, an amendment was proposed (by the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene (AMSH)?) to the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act to make lesbianism an act of "gross indecency", with the same punishments as gay men. The proposal was defeated, the reason being given that: "it was believed that few women could even comprehend that such acts existed and accepting the proposal would only draw attention to such acts and therefore, open them up to a new "audience". P.S Buy me a drink of champers, if you believe the myth that Queen Victoria prevented the criminalisation of lesbianism because she thought "women do not do, such things".

First Woman Veterinary Surgeon UK - Aleen Cust

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In 1922, Aleen Cust became the first woman MRCVS and first female veterinary surgeon to be recognised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Aleen Cust initally trained as a nurse at London Hospital. In 1894, she gave up nursing to train as a veterinary surgeon at William Williams' New Veterinary College (now known as the University of Edinburgh’s Veterinary School). She completed her studies, in 1900, and despite finishing top of her class and earning a gold medal for zoology, she was not allowed to sit the RCVS exams. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) maintained that in their regulations, the word "student" implied male student. Consequently, she was unable to gain the RCVS diploma to officially become a veterinary surgeon.

Nonetheless, she still pursued a career in the veterinary field. With the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, in 1919, which stated that women could no longer be barred from any profession, the RCVS were now obliged to consider Aleen's membership. On the 21st December 1922, Aleen Cust finally was awarded her deserved diploma, becoming the first female veterinary surgeon to be recognised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Equal Inheritance - The Law of Property Act of 1922 enabled a husband and wife to inherit each other's property, and also granted them equal rights to inherit the property of intestate children.

Right To Vote For: Women Over The Age Of 21

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928 gave women electoral equality with men by giving the vote to all women over 21 years old, regardless of property ownership.

  • 1970: The Representation of the People Act 1969 - lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, with effect from 1970
  • 2013: Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013 - allowed 16-year-olds to vote for the first time, BUT only in Scotland and only in that particular Scottish Independence Referendum. Shame, Scotland didn't keep it for the Brexit vote!

Lesbian book banned for 21 years - On 16 November 1928, the chief magistrate, Sir Chartres Biron, ruled that the novel The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall was an "obscene libel" and ordered that it be destroyed. Poignantly, Hall's contemporary, Virginia Woolf's Orlando was published on the 11 October 1928, three months later, which features a male nobleman who undergoes a mysterious change of sex, but Orlando was never banned. The Well of Loneliness was finally re-published in Britain in 1949, by Falcon Press with no legal challenge, but sadly after Radclyffe Hall's death.

The "Flapper Election"

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The first general election in which women are allowed to vote - The 1929 UK election is sometimes referred to as the "Flapper Election" due to the thousands of women who had finally gained the right to vote.

The Bra!

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The liberation from corsets to... bras!!

  • 16th Century: Corset - The corset as an undergarment had its origin in Italy, and was introduced by Catherine de Medici (Queen consort of France) into France in the 1500s . The corset was a very tightly fitting undergarment extending from below the chest to the hips and worn to shape the figure. Most corsets were made with whalebone (baleen) or a long piece of wood (busk) sewn into the casing.
  • 1850s - 1890s - Dress Reformists - The Dress Reform Movement (also known as the Rational Dress Movement) spread from America across the world. Their greatest success was influencing the change in women's undergarments. The dress reformists claimed that the TIGHT corset not only encouraged vanity and foolishness, but was harmful to health. They argued the health risks of wearing corsets included: compromised fertility, damaged and rearranged internal organs, weakness and general depletion of a woman's health.
  • 1869 - First Bra - In France, the first modern bra was revealed at the World Fair of 1889, in Paris. The "corselet-gorge" ("the well-being."), was designed by French designer Herminie Cadolle who had cut a corset into two separate undergarments — the top section supported the breasts by means of straps, while the lower piece cinched and shaped the waist. She filed a patent for her design!
  • 1907: "Brassiere" - American Vogue used the word "brassiere" for the first time and in 1911 "brassiere" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
  • 1910: The Modern Bra - at the age of 19, American socialite Mary Phelps Jacob, invented the first modern bra with a pair of silk handkerchiefs and silk ribbons as a last-minute fix to maximise her love of dancing, right before one of her countless debutante parties. At the party everyone was so impressed by how free and great she looked that they wanted to know her secret. Next day, they all wanted one and later strangers too. Mary filed her invention for a patent and in 1914 the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted her a patent for her 'Backless Brassiere'. Mary opened her Fashion Form Brassiere Company in 1920.
  • 1917 -Metal Shortage - Shortly after the United States’ entry into WWI in 1917, the U.S. War Industries Board asked women to stop buying corsets to free up metal for war production. This was most likely the case in Britain too.
  • 1920s - Corsets Ditched - Flappers took over in the Roaring Twenties, and they ditched the corsets almost completely, as it restricted their slick dance moves!
  • 1930s - Mass Production and Cup Sizes - With large-scale production beginning, American S.H. Camp and Company introduced cup sizes, correlating sizes of a woman's breasts to letters of the alphabet (A through D) and, adjustable bands and eyehooks. With large scale sales the term "brassiere" was shortened to "bra".
  • 1947 - Padded Bra - Frederick Mellinger, of Frederick's of Hollywood, invented the first padded bra which added material to the cups to help the breasts look fuller.
  • 1955 - "Wonderbra" - the "Wonderbra" name was first trademarked in the U.S. in 1955, by Moses (Moe) Nadler, founder and majority owner of the Canadian Lady Corset Company who had already licensed the trademark for the Canadian market in 1939.
  • 1964: The Pushup Bra - Louise Poirier for Canadelle, a Canadian lingerie company designed a Pushup Bra — that lifted and supported the bustline while creating a deep plunge and push-together effect.
  • 1975: First Sports Bra - The first commercially available sports bra was the "Free Swing Tennis Bra" introduced by American Glamorise Foundations, Inc. in 1975.
  • 1994: Wonderbra - part two (as we know it) - everyone remembers slick Eva Herzigová in the iconic "Hello Boys" ad.

Note: Girdles - a woman's elasticated and TIGHT corset extending from waist to thigh worn over pants - my sweet Mummy wore until... 2010! I used to say please stop, but sweety her wouldn't!

The Formation of The Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF)

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) was formed in 1939 to support the RAF during WWII. Whilst the WAAF did not recruit female aircrew, a large selection of administrative and ground trades were open to woman.

  • December 1939: Pauline Gower, an accomplished pilot, was appointed as the leader of the new women's section of the Air Transport Auxiliary. She appointed eight women - four were experienced flying instructors and the remainder had experience of aerial circuses, and long distance flying. They ferried aircraft to wherever was needed.
  • 1941: First female RAF pilots - As aircraft production increased to meet demand so did the need for the ATA's ferrying service and the decision was made to allow women to fly operational aircraft.
  • 1989: First female navigators - commenced training at RAF Finningley, graduating in 1990 to take up posts in the Hercules fleet.
  • 1990: The blanket ban on women flying in the military - was lifted.
  • 1990 - First operational female pilot - Flight Lieutenant Julie Gibson became the RAF's first operational female pilot, flying Andovers and the multi-engined Hercules transport.
  • 1994: First female fighter pilot - Flight Lieutenant Joanna Salter became the RAF's first female combat jet pilot.
  • 2013: Air Vice-Marshal Sue Gray became the most senior regular serving woman in the UK Armed Forces.
  • 2017: The RAF became the first branch of the British military to open up every role to women and men.

Land Girls - The Land Girls were formed in June 1939 to take the place of male farm workers and to help save Britain from starvation. At its height, the Women's Land Army had more than 80,000 ladies farming UK's lands.

Conscription of Women

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The National Service Act of 1941 - Two years after the start of WWII, The National Service Act of 1941 made the conscription of women legal. At first, only single women aged 20-30 were called up. Pregnant women and those with young children were exempt. By mid-1943, almost 90 per cent of single women and 80 per cent of married women were employed in war work.

The Royal Society Allows Female Fellows

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is the UK's national academy of sciences. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by King Charles II as The Royal Society. Fellowship of the Royal Society is open to scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and Commonwealth of Nations, on the basis of having made "a substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science". Election to the Fellowship is highly regarded and sought after as it is akin to being awarded the Nobel Prize.

  • 1667: The first woman to attend a meeting of the Royal Society - Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle, in May 1667. THis caused a stir with the all-male fellows.
  • 1786: The first original letter that might be considered as part of a scientific research programme conducted by a woman and published in the Royal Society's journal - was by astronomer Caroline Herschel in August 1786, "An Account of a new Comet, in a letter from Miss Caroline Herschel to Mr Charles Blagden MD, Secretary to the Royal Society".
  • 1826: The first paper by a woman to be read to the Royal Society and published in its Philosophical Transactions - Mary Somerville's "The Magnetic Properties of the Violet Rays of the Solar Spectrum".
  • 1900: The first recorded question of women being admitted to the Royal Society - Marian Farquharson, the first female fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society, sent a letter to the Council of the Royal Society petitioning that "duly qualified women should have the advantage of full fellowship". In its reply, the Council stated that the question of women fellows "must depend on the interpretation to be placed upon the Royal Charters under which the Society has been governed for more than three hundred years".
  • 1902: Royal Society declines a nomination for female fellowship - Hertha Ayrton (an engineer, mathematician and physicist) was nominated for fellowship in 1902, but her candidature was turned down by the Council of the Royal Society on the basis that as a married woman she had no standing in law!
  • 1919: The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 - made it illegal for an incorporated society to refuse admission on the grounds of an individual's sex or marital status.
  • 1922 & 25: Requests to allow female admision - in 1922 and again in 1925, Caroline Haslett (an electrical engineer) wrote to the Royal Society asking about their views regarding the admission of women to fellowship, pointing out that the engineering institutions had now opened their doors to all. Alas the Royal Society was unmoved.
  • 1945: First female Royal Society fellows - Kathleen Lonsdale (an x-ray crystallographer) and Marjory Stephenson (a biochemist and microbiologist) were duly elected in 1945, after a postal vote amending the Society's statutes to explicitly allow women fellows.
  • 1991: First female Officer of the Royal Society - Anne McLaren (Geneticist).
  • 2008: First female journal editor of the Royal Society - Georgina Mace (Ecologist).
  • 2015: First woman to win the Royal Society Winton Prize as a sole author - Gaia Vince for Adventures in the Anthropocene.
  • 2017: First woman to chair the Royal Society's publishing board - Wendy Hall (Computer scientist).

PS - I am hugely grateful to The Royal Society which gave me a scholarship to undertake postdoctoral research at Hamburg University (the city of my mother).

Worldwide Promotion Of Women's Rights

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), was established in 1946 and is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of women's rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women throughout the world.

Permanent Roles for Women In The Armed Force

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Women In The Armed Force - In recognition of their invaluable WWII wartime contribution, the passing of the Army and Air Force (Women's Service) Act in 1948 provided the opportunity for a permanent peacetime role for women in the Armed Forces. Women could not still undertake combatant duties.

NHS - The establishment of the National Health Service (NHS), on 5 July 1948, gave everyone in the UK, "good, strong and reliable" healthcare. Previously, only the insured, usually more affluent men, benefited. The NHS brought hospitals, doctors, nurses and dentists together under one service.

The Sexual Offences Act

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Sexual Offences Act 1956 - included offences:

  • Rape - was defined under specific criteria, such as incest, sex with a girl under 16, no consent, use of drugs, anal sex and impersonation.
  • Brothels - running (owning or managing) a brothel was banned
  • Loitering or soliciting sex on the street was outlawed

Sex Work:

With the exception of Northern Ireland (where buying sex is illegal), prostitution is... legal in England and Wales.

  • 2001: Phone box ads for sex - were outlawed
  • 2003: Sexual Offences Act 2003 - it became an offence to cause or incite prostitution or control it for personal gain. Soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, pimping and pandering became illegal. Human trafficking was criminalised i.e. the trafficking into, within, and out of, the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

Civil service reforms in UK - gave women teachers and civil servants the right to equal pay.

Birth Control Pill On The NHS

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In 1961 the birth control pill was introduced in the UK on the National Health Service BUT was only given to married women only.

  • 1951: The first human contraceptive pill - was invented by Dr Carl Djerassi, a chemist in Mexico City in 1951.
  • 1960: The first commercially available oral contraceptive pill - Enovid, (which contains which contains mestranol and norethynodrel) was invented by American chemist Frank Colton in 1960. "The pill" as we know it was "commissioned" by American birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger and was funded by heiress Katherine McCormick.
  • 1960: Oral contraceptive first approved - for use in 1960 by the FDA (The United States Food and Drug Administration)
  • 1961: Married women only pill - Health Minister Enoch Powell announced that women who wished to have oral contraception would be able to receive it through the NHS. The first contraceptive pill was licensed in the UK in 1961 but was reserved for married women. A proposal to extend it to unmarried women was rejected in 1965, and not approved until a decade later in 1974.
  • 1967: Family Planning Act 1967 - In 1967, parliament passed the NHS Family Planning Act 1967, which enabled local health authority-funded family health clinics to give contraceptive advice to unmarried women, on both medical and social grounds.
  • 1974 - The contraceptive pill all women - the pill became available to all women in the UK through the NHS.

Forgive me, the development off the pill from Dr Carl Djerassi to Frank Colton got a bit complicated - I will revisit. But it is worth adding, before the pill, girls and women were completely reliant on boys and men. Seeking my parents ancestry, some of my lady relatives gave birth to... 7 plus babies! For girls there was the irony of the iron chastity belts which were under lock and key and... for boys, lets just leave at it Charles Goodyear's (not to be confused with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company) discovery of vulcanised rubber in 1839 that brought condoms to the masses.

1961: The March of the White Coats - Brenda Webber, an employee of the Mathematics Division at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington and a member of the Institution of Professional Civil Servants (IPCS), led a strike of around 5,000 government scientific assistants, most of whom were wome, over a pay pause' leading to a fall in living standards. The strike gained national attention as the "march of the white coats" on Whitehall. The Times reported that on the platform was not a burly shop steward but Miss Brenda Webber, whom it declared "a charming strike leader".

First "Ladies" Bank Branch - Edinburgh

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In 1964, The National Commercial Bank of Scotland, opened Britain's first "Ladies Bank Branch", in Edinburgh's West End. Staffed entirely by women, the "Ladies Bank Branch" sought to serve women who might be handling their own financial affairs for the first time, or who simply preferred to deal with another woman when discussing what could be very sensitive personal matters. The "Ladies Bank Branch" was merged with the Royal Bank of Scotland, in 1969 and remained open until 1997, although in later years men were no longer officially barred.

Legalisation of Abortions

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Abortion Act of 1967 legalised abortions by registered practitioners, and regulated the tax-paid provision of such medical practices through the NHS, in the UK. Two consenting doctors had to agree that continuing the pregnancy would be harmful either to the woman's physical or mental health, or to the child's physical or mental health when it was born.

  • 2018: The Supreme Court of the UK - concluded on the 7th June 2018, that Northern Ireland's laws on termination of pregnancy are incompatible with human rights.

The Dagenham Sewing Machinists Equal Pay Strike

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Dagenham Sewing Machinists Strikes - In 1968, 850 women sewing machinists at the Ford factory in Dagenham went on strike over equal pay. This landmark event contributed to the passing of the Equal Pay Act 1970. The Ford sewing machinists, who made car seat covers, at Ford's Dagenham plant disputed the classification of their work as unskilled. After a pay regrade for the sewing machinists, where they had been downgraded from Category C workers (skilled production jobs) to Category B (less skilled production jobs) - a classification which seemed to justify them being paid 15% less than their B rated male colleagues.

Led by Rose Boland, Gwen Davis, Violet Dawson, Sheila Douglass, Eileen Pullen and Vera Sime, The Dagenham sewing machinists went on strike on 7 June 1968. The strike encouraged other women across Ford's production plants to strike (including at the Halewood plant in Merseyside). As stock ran out, the strike eventually halted car production of Ford vehicles in the UK. With the help of Barbara Castle, The Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity, The Ford sewing machinists strike ended three weeks after it had began, when a deal was struck to immediately increase their pay to 8% below that of men, rising to the full category B rate, the following year. Watch the fab film Made in Dagenham (2010).

  • 1969: National Joint Action Campaign Committee for Women's Equal Rights - Women trades unionists founded the National Joint Action Campaign Committee for Women's Equal Rights (NJACCWER), which held an "equal pay demonstration" attended by 1,000 protestors in Trafalgar Square on 18 May 1969.
  • 1970: The Equal Pay Act 1970 - employers had to treat men and women who were doing the same job equally in their pay and conditions. All such rates had to be raised to at least the lowest male rate over a 5 year period between 1970 and 1975. This had the effect of eliminating separate lower women's rates of pay.
  • 1973: Article 119 - When the UK joined the EEC in 1973, the UK became subject to Article 119 of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, which specified that women and men should receive equal pay for equal work.
  • 1975: The Equal Pay Act 1970 was fully in force.
  • 1984: Dagenham Strikes Again - In November 1984, female sewing machinists at the Ford Motor Company plants in Dagenham and Halewood again went on strike against the grading system. After six weeks on strike and a decision in their favour by an independent arbitration panel, the Ford agreed to regrade the women. That's 16 years after the first Ford sewing machinists strikes!

'Bra-burning' feminists ... a MYTH! - A protest against a Miss America 1969 beauty pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA in 1968 sparked the "bra-burning feminist"! During the protest, circa 400 feminists symbolically threw mops, lipsticks, high heels ... - objects that they deemed oppressed women, into a "Freedom Trash Can". Apparently, some women did throw (but DIDN'T burn) their underwear, including restrictive girdles and bras, into the "Freedom Trash Can". Journalist Lindsy Van Gelder drew a comparison with conscripts burning their draft cards in protest over the Vietnam war and hit the headlines world wide with the title grabbing "Bra Burners And Miss America" and, wrote: "Men burn draft cards and what next? Will women burn bras?" Watch the documentary "Burn Your Bra!" (1968)

Equal Pay For Women

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

An active year!

  • February 1970: Leeds Women clothing worker's strike - a strike by Leeds women clothing workers was initiated after their union accepted a low wage rise that discriminated against women. 20,000 women from 45 factories marched in protest.
  • Hoover's Women clothing worker's strike - Women working at The Hoover factory, Merthyr Tydfil, took strike action - in 1970 to demand that their pay met that of their male counterparts. The Hoover management responded well and told the women that they had already budgeted for equal pay. The the pay increase, however, put the male employees noses out of joint. The men went on strike because they didn't want the women to have equal pay which created a rift in the Hoover factory.
  • February 1970: The first national Women's Liberation Movement conference - more than 600 women attended the first national Women's Liberation Movement conference to debate a wide variety of issues affecting women: Equal pay, Equal educational and job opportunities, Free contraception and abortion on demand and, Free 24-hour nurseries.
  • May 1970: The Equal Pay Act 1970 was passed and prohibiting any less favourable treatment between women and men in terms of pay and conditions of employment. The Act has now been mostly superseded the Equality Act 2010.
  • November 1970: Miss World Protest - Since 1951, The Miss World beauty pageant had been held annually in the UK. Feminists threw flour-bombs during the 1970 Miss World contest to protest against what they saw as the objectification of women.

First Women's Refuge For Victims of Domestic Abuse

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The first women's refuge was set up in Chiswick in 1971 by Erin Pizzey. The Chiswick women's refuge provided protection for women who were being abused by their husbands and needed a safe place to stay. The women could also bring their children to the refuge.

The first Women's Liberation march - over 4,000 women took part in the first Women's Liberation march in London, marching from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. They held banners demanding everything from equal education, wages and job opportunities to free contraception and 24-hour state-funded nurseries.

The FA Council lifted it's ban on women playing on the grounds of affiliated clubs. In the first women's FA Cup Final, 1971, Southampton's women's team beat Stewarton and Thistle's women's team 4-1. In 1972, the first official women's football international in Britain was played at Greenock where England's women's team beat Scotland's women's team 3-2.

Britain's first female jet airline pilot - Yvonne Sintes was the first woman to pilot a commercial jet in UK. In 1974, Yvonne Sintes captained the first UK flight with an all-female crew. Along the way, Yvonne Sintes was the UK's first female air traffic controller. It seems that female pilots were not banned from flying commercial jets but some commercial airlines were prejudiced, for example Yvonne Sintes applied to British European Airways, now part of BA, but was told they would not accept a female pilot.

First Edition of Spare Rib

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The first edition of Spare Rib was published in June 1972. Spare Rib was a feminist magazine published by a collective founded by Rosie Boycott and Marsha Rowe. Among many other issues, Spare Rib included articles written by women about their experiences of domestic violence, education, employment, family and health. In addition to publishing Spare Rib, the collective organised campaigning marches.

Women Jockeys - The Jockey Club rules began permitting women jockeys in 1972.

  • 1972: The first ever ladies' flat race held under Jockey Club rules - Meriel Patricia Tufnell rode her mother's novice mare, Scorched Earth, to victory in the Goya Stakes at Kempton Park.
  • 1987: The first female to ride a winner at Royal Ascot - Gay Kelleway.
  • 2019: The first Muslim female jockey (& to ride in hijab) - Khadijah Mellah, and stellar she won the Magnolia Cup on her mount, Haverland.
  • 2021: The first female jockey to win The Grand National - Rachael Blackmore.

Barclays Actively Promoted Credit Cards To... (gasp) Women

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Barclays was the first Bank to began actively promoting credit cards to women. Bare in mind, the UK's first credit card for the general public was launched in 1966 (by Barclays). Prior to this women were only granted loans and mortgages if they could secure the signature of a male guarantor, even if they earned more than their male guarantor.

The first women in The London Stock Exchange - Women were finally allowed to join the London Stock Exchange (founded in 1801) in 1973 when ten newly elected lady members entered the Stock Exchange.

The Rape Crisis organisation - was set up in England and Wales in 1973. Rape Crisis has now a network of centres across the UK that 'provides co-ordination and support to affiliated member groups and campaigns and lobbies to raise awareness of the issues of sexual violence in the wider community and with local, regional and national government.'

  • 1976 - On 15 March 1976, the first Rape Crisis Centre (LRCC) opened in North London.
  • 1976 Rape Crisis Scotland - was set up a centre in Glasgow in 1976 and another in Edinburgh in 1978.

Brixton Black Women's Group - was founded by Olive Morris in 1973. The Group campaigned on many issues including racism in education provision, and the discriminatory practice of the contraceptive drug Depo Provera being prescribed to black women on a long-term basis. The group remained active until 1986. Founder member Olive Morris became active in the Black Panther movement and went on to campaign around many issues including housing, education and policing.

Virago Press - was founded by Carmen Callil in 1973. Virago is dedicated to publishing women's literature and was set up to 'drag women's writing off the sidelines'.

Women's Aid Charity Set-up

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Women's Aid charity was set up in 1974. As part of a range of services, Women's Aid provides practical and emotional support to women and children experiencing violence. The charity was instrumental in lobbying for the 1976 Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act, and for having women and children at risk of domestic violence, to count as homeless under the 1977 Housing Act.

Sex Discrimination Act

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 - was passed and protected people from discrimination on the grounds of sex or marital status. For example a British woman could open a bank account in her own name! However, Section 85(4), still allowed the exclusion of women from combat roles.

The First Maternity Leave Legislation - The Employment Protection Act 1975 introduced statutory maternity pay and job reinstatement rights for pregnant employees. It was extended through further legislation, such as The Employment Act 1980. For the first 15 years, however, only about half of working women were eligible for it because of long qualifying periods of employment.

The National Abortion Campaign (NAC) - was formed in 1975 to defend women's rights to make decisions about their own bodies.

The Race Relations Act - made it illegal to discriminate on grounds of race in employment and education.

The Equal Opportunities Commission - was founded to oversee the Equal Pay Act and Sex Discrimination Act.

Grunwick Women Worker's Strikes

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Grunwick Asian Women Worker's Strikes - The Grunwick dispute was a two-year strike at a Grunwick's film-processing laboratories in Willesden, north London. Jayaben Desai led the walkout of 100, mainly South Asian, women over working conditions and lack of equal pay. The workers talked of an atmosphere of fear, control and degrading treatment by managers. The Grunwick strike gained support in the trade union movement and on some days, over 20,000 people marched on the streets near Dollis Hill tube station

"Reclaim the Night" march - Leeds women held the first "Reclaim the Night" march in Britain in 1977. In Europe, "Reclaim the Night" was inspired by the American movement "Take Back The Night" which is the earliest worldwide movement to stand against sexual violence. One of the first "Take Back the Night" marches was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in October 1975, after the murder of a microbiologist, Susan Alexander Speeth, who was stabbed to death while walking home alone.

The "Reclaim the Night" movement was born in Rome in 1976 following "Take Back the Night's" International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women on March 4-8, 1976 in Brussels, Belgium. Two-thousand women from over 40 countries attended. The Rome movement was fueled by the fact that 16,000 rapes were reported in 1976. During the 1970s, "Reclaim the Night" movement spread across Europe. In the UK, the marches ceased around the 1990s. The London Feminist Network revived the march in 2004 as a march against rape and all forms of male violence against women.

The World's First IVF Baby

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The world's first IVF baby - on July 25, 1978, Louise Joy Brown became the world's first baby to be conceived via IVF (in vitro fertilization). She was born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester, England.

The Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent (OWAAD) - was set up in 1978. It was the first national black women's organisation in Britain which campaigned on issues including immigration and deportation, domestic violence, health and reproductive rights, exclusion of children from school, industrial action by black women and policing policies.

First Female Prime Minister - Margaret Thatcher

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

UK's First female Prime Minister - Margaret Thatcher

The Kennel Club began admitting women members in 1979. Founded in 1873 The Kennel Club is the UK's largest organisation devoted to dog health, welfare and training and, oversees various canine activities. Until 1978, The Kennel Club's constitution restricted membership to men only. In September 1977 Florence Nagle (a British trainer and breeder of racehorses and a breeder of pedigree dogs) was proposed as a member of the Kennel Club. Though this was two years after the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 was enacted, her nomination was refused in January 1978 because of the Kennel Club's constitution.

Florence referred her case to an Industrial Tribunal but due to legal technicalities the case was rejected. It was recommended that she approach The Equal Opportunities Commission as discrimination had been clearly demonstrated. On hearing that she was going to appeal, to avoid bad press Leonard Pagliero, the Chairman of the Kennel Club at the time, announced via the canine press, Dog World and Our Dogs, that he was recommending that the club's constitution be changed to allow women members. At a meeting held on 23 November 1978 the proposal was carried unanimously. On 10 April 1979 Florence and 79 other ladies were accepted as members of the Kennel Club.

Southall Black Sisters - were formed in February 1979 to support all black and Asian women living in the UK through campaigns, providing legal advice, information and offering counselling.

Hoover "Women Out First" Redundancy Plans

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Women's Hoover strike in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales - women workers took strike action in response to redundancy plans which had a "women out first" policy.

Women can apply for a loan or credit in their own names.

Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Angered by the decision to site 96 cruise missiles (guided nuclear missiles) in the UK, a Welsh group of 36 women, "Women for Life on Earth", organised a protest march from Cardiff, Wales to the RAF's Greenham Common Air Base near Newbury in Berkshire. They arrived on the 5th September 1981 and delivered a letter to the Base Commander which among other things stated "We fear for the future of all our children and for the future of the living world which is the basis of all life".

When their request for a debate was ignored they set up a women-only Peace Camp just outside the fence surrounding the base. For 19 years the campaigners protested and disrupted the exercises of the United States Air Force (USAF), chaining themselves to the base fence and blockaded the base. On 1 April 1983, about 70,000 protesters formed a 14-mile human chain from Greenham to the ordnance factory at Burghfield. Some women were arrested, taken to court and sent to prison. Sadly there was one death - 22 years old Helen Wyn Thomas died in August 1989, from head injuries sustained when she was struck by a West Midlands Police vehicle.

In 1992, the USAF left Greenham and a year later the Greenham Common air base was declared surplus to requirements by the Secretary of State for Defence and the facility was closed and put up for sale. The site has a business park and the rest is open heathland. The original missile silos remain and were used as a setting for a rebel base during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

CEDAW - The UK signed the United Nations' The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1981 which was an "International Bill of Rights for Women".

Ban On Women Being Served At A Bar, Lifted

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In the case Gill and Coote v El Vino Ltd, Tess Gill and Anna Coote successfully challenged El Vino's ban on women being served at the bar.

Tess Gill (a lawyer) and Anna Coote (a journalist) wanted to stand and drink at the bar at El Vino, a traditional Fleet Street bar in London and a haunt of journalists and lawyers. Incredulously (it was 1983) the barman refused to serve them and said that, if they sat at a table, the drinks would be brought to them because only men were permitted to stand and drink at the bar.

Gill and Coote brought a claim against the management of El Vino, arguing that their treatment was unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. El Vino argued that the ban on women drinking at the bar ensured female patrons were not jostled at the bar and claimed that it was upholding "old fashioned ideas of chivalry". The trial judge found in favour of El Vino, however, Gill and Coote won their case against El Vino in the Court of Appeal as the ban was held to be an illegal violation of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. One of the judges, Lord Justice Griffiths, said that El Vino's popularity amongst journalists made it one of the famous "gossip shops of Fleet Street," and confining women reporters to tables put them at a disadvantage in "picking up gossip of the day."

"Morning after pill" &...

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The "Morning After Pill" was licensed in the UK in 1984.

  • 1920s: First research on unwanted... animal births - researchers, in the 1920s, initially demonstrated that oestrogen ovarian extracts interfere with pregnancy in mammals. The findings were first applied by veterinarians, who administered the oestrogen to dogs and horses that had mated against the wishes of their owners. Human use started in the 1960s.
  • 1984 - "Morning after pill" - was licensed in the UK in 1984.
  • 2001 - Over the counter emergency contraception - in 2001, emergency contraception became available to buy over the counter in UK pharmacies.

During the 1984 - 85 Miners' Strike, a group of women from Barnsley set up Women Against Pit Closures (WAPC) to support miners and their families during the strikes. In the mid 80's, PM Margaret Thatcher's programme of pit closures was not motivated by the dangers of fossil fuel to the environment. The objective was to weaken trade unions which she described as the "enemy within" and regarded as a barrier to "national recovery". The WAPC Barnsley group spawned a movement of local groups across the country, campaigning against pit closures. The WAPC marched with their men, attended rallies and meetings, travelled the country to speak and raise funds and even held sit-ins in mine shafts.

Female Genital Mutilation Outlawed In The UK

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 - Female genital mutilation (FGM) was outlawed in the UK by the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985. This Act made it an offence to perform FGM on children or adults. FGM is the practice of cutting or removing the external female genitalia without consent or medical justification.

  • 2003 - The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 amended and strengthened The Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act of 1985. For the first time, it became an offence for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to carry out female genital mutilation abroad, or to aid, abet, council, or procure the carrying out of female genital mutilation, even in countries where the practice is legal.
  • 2015 - The Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Enhanced Dataset was opened in 2015 and is a repository for individual level data collected by healthcare providers in England, including acute hospital providers, mental health providers and GP practices.
  • 2021 - Though FGM is illegal in the UK, FGM is still happening today. Since data gathering began, information has been reported by NHS trusts and GP practices of about 24,420 individual women and girls, who have, between April 2015 and March 2020, had a total of 52,050 attendances where FGM was identified. For the period of October to December 2020 (three months), there were (even in COVID lockdowns!) 685 newly recorded cases among women and girls of FGM, compared with 900 newly recorded cases for the same period in 2019. Source: digital.nhs.uk

UK's first surrogate mother - in 1985, Kim, a mother-of-two, became the UK's first surrogate mother when she gave birth to a baby girl, known as 'baby Cotton'. Due to an ironclad contract that made the process anonymous, Kim never met the intended parents or the child. The Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 was rushed through Parliament as a reaction to the 'baby Cotton' case to try to smother the practice of surrogacy in the UK.

Statutory Maternity Pay

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Statutory Maternity Pay regulations - were introduced, in 1986, providing women with Statutory maternity pay.

Equal retirement age - The UK enabled women to retire at the same age as men and take well-compensated factory night shifts.

Clause 28 - Promotion Of Homosexuality Banned

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Section 28 (also known as Clause 28) of the Local Government Act made it illegal for any council or government body to "intentionally promote homosexuality, or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship". Across the UK massive demonstrations took place, with high profile support from media stars and politicians. In protest against the homophobic legislation, lesbians invaded the House of Lords and even the BBC Six o’clock news!

  • 2003: Section 28 repealed - After 15 years of lobbying by voluntary and community organisations, particularly LGBT organisations and demonstrations, Section 28 was repealed in Scotland in 2000 and in 2003, in England and Wales.

First Royal Navy Female Personnel Went To Sea

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In 1990, the first Royal Navy female personnel went to sea on HMS Brilliant. Three months later, they were deployed to the Middle East, as part of the international naval effort in the first Gulf War.

  • 1998: The first woman to command a Royal Navy warship - Commander Moore was one of the first two female officers to command a Royal Navy warship, HMS Dasher
  • 2011: A ban on women submariners (which had been based on health fears) - was lifted.
  • 2012: The first woman to command a Royal Navy major warship - Commander Sarah West of frigate HMS Portland
  • 2012: The first woman to command a Royal Navy squadron of minor war vessels - Commander Sue Moore; the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron (1PBS).
  • 2014: The first Royal Navy female submariners - Lieutenants Maxine Stiles, Alexandra Olsson and Penny Thackray
  • 2022: first female Royal Navy admiral - Commodore Jude Terry will take up the rank of rear admiral in the Royal Navy

The Lesbian And Gay Police Association (LAGPA) - The LAGPA was founded in 1990 by Constable James Bradley, and represented the needs and interests of gay and bisexual police officers and police staff in the UK. It was later renamed The Gay Police Association (GPA).

Independent Taxation For Women

Independent taxation for women - was introduced in 1990 and was championed by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson. For the first time, married women were to be taxed separately from their husbands. This also gave married women the same opportunities for privacy and independence in tax matters as their husbands. Before 1990, the income of a married couple was added together for tax purposes i.e. a married woman’s income was treated as if it were the income of the husband.

Martial Rape Outlawed & First British Astronaut...

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The first British astronaut to travel into space - Helen Sharman, on 18th May 1991, became the first British astronaut to travel into space.

Martial rape outlawed - In the case of R vs R [1991] The House of Lords determined that under English criminal law, it is a crime for a husband to rape his wife. In 1990, the defendant, referred to in the judgment only as R to protect the identity of the victim, had been convicted of attempting to rape his wife. He appealed the conviction on the grounds of a purported marital rape exemption under common law. R claimed that it was not legally possible for a husband to rape his wife, as the wife had given irrevocable consent to sexual intercourse with her husband through the contract of marriage, which she could not subsequently withdraw. In 1991, Both the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords upheld the rape conviction, declaring that a marital rape exemption did not exist in English law and that therefore, it is possible for a husband to rape his wife!

The first female director of MI5 - in 1992, Stella Rimington became the first female Director General of MI5 which she held from 1992 to 1996.

Statutory Maternity Leave & Pay For Working Women

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Following the introduction of The EU Maternity Leave Directive, all working women in the UK were entitled to statutory maternity leave and pay.

First Woman To Be Ordained As A Priest In The Church of England.

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

In March 1994, Angela Berners-Wilson became the first woman to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England. Bare in mind one of the oldest Church of England parish churches is The Church of St Martin in Canterbury, England which was established in circa AD 580 as the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent. Moreover, during the English Reformation King Henry VIII separated the Church of England from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. So why couldn't woman become priests prior to 1994?

  • 1991: The first cathedral to admit girl choristers - Salisbury Cathedral became the first cathedral to admit girl choristers in 1991. The tradition of boys singing in cathedral choirs dates back at least 1,110 years with the first boy choristers singing at Wells Cathedral in 909.
  • 2015: England's first-ever female bishop - Reverend Libby Lane was officially appointed as the Bishop of Derby.
  • 2017: St Paul's Cathedral appointed a female chorister - Carris Jones, is believed to be the first female chorister in St Paul's Cathedral's history.

Equal rights to part-time workers - a House of Lords ruling gave equal rights to part-time workers. Many women choose to work part time.

Woman's State Pension Raised From 60 to 65

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The pension age for women: in 1940, the pension age for women was cut to 60 to try to ensure for most couples that the married rate would be paid as soon as the husband reached 65. The Pensions Act 1995 kept men's stage pension age at 65. For women born before 6 April 1950 they would retain a stage pension age of 60 but women born after 5 April 1955 their stage pension age would be raised from 60 to 65 over the period April 2010 to 2020.

  • 2011 - The Pensions Act 2011 raised the state pension age to 66 for both men and women. This act also accelerated the previous timetable timetable: starting in April 2016 when women's stage pension age was 63, so that it reached 65 in November 2018, at which point it started to rise to 66 by October 2020. "Roughly 3.8 million" women had been affected by the changes.
  • 2018 - A campaign group, BackTo60 took The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to court, arguing that raising their pension age "unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age, sex, and age and sex combined". They sought to secure 1950s women's state pension age back to 60 with damages and compensation.
  • 2028 - The stage pension age is scheduled to rise to 67.

The Protection From Harassment Act 1997

The Protection From Harassment Act 1997 - aims to protect victims of harassment (where harassment is defined as 'causing alarm or distress'). The Protection From Harassment Act 1997 provides protection from harassment in a wide variety of disputes such as stalking, bullying at work, protection from the media and libel disputes.

The Sex Offenders Register was set up in September 1997. The Sexual Offenders Act 1997 requires sex offenders to notify police of personal detains and any subsequent changes to them, which resulted in the creation of a register of sexual offenders. The sex offenders register contains the details of anyone convicted, cautioned or released from prison for sexual offence against children or adults. The Sex Offenders Register, which is run by the police, is not retro-active, therefore it does not include anyone convicted of a sexual offence before 1997.

The first CEO of a FTSE 100 company - Marjorie Scardina at Persons PLC.

  • 2021 - Only, 8 of the CEOs in the FTSE 100 companies are women. The female CEOs are: Alison Brittain at Premier Inn, Alison Rose at NatWest Group, Amanda Blanc at the insurer Aviva, Carolyn McCall at the broadcaster ITV, Emma Walmsley at the drugmaker GSK, Jette Nygaard-Andersen at the sports betting firm Entain, Liv Garfield at the water company Severn Trent and Mondini de Focatiis at the insurer Admiral.

A Timeline of Women's Rights UK: 21c

Ban On Gay & Bisexual People Serving In The Armed Forces Lifted

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The ban on gay and bisexual people serving in the armed forces was lifted in 2000.

  • 2006 - The Royal Navy was the first military organisation in the world to march in a national pride event in in 2006. UK military officials had given the go-ahead for gay and lesbian navy personnel to march in full uniform for the first time in the kingdom's annual gay pride celebrations.
  • 2007 – a contingent of gay RAF personnel first marched in London Pride although not in uniform as the RAF had announced that RAF personnel who wore uniform to the Pride parade would face disciplinary action.
  • 2008 - The Ministry of Defence gave the go-ahead to allow the Armed Forces to be allowed to wear their uniforms. Previously there had been a concern with a possible breach of the Queen's Regulations, which bar military personnel from taking part in political activities.
  • 2018 - The Royal Marines marched at London Pride for the first time
  • BTW: 2000 - Gay Police Officers were allowed to march in uniform in "Gay Pride" marches. Traditionally, Police Officers were not permitted to wear uniform on marches or demonstrations, that might be controversial or in any way "political".

The Age of Consent - was equalised for same- and opposite-sex partners at 16. Bizarrely, Parliament has never legislated for an age of consent for lesbians. Some lawyers consider that under common law there is an age of consent for lesbians of 16, but this has never been tested in the courts.

Asylum Gender Guidelines 2000 - After a long battle led by refugee women's groups in the UK to bring a gendered analysis to asylum claims, the UK's Immigration Appellate Authority (the immigration and asylum tribunal) published its Asylum Gender Guidelines for use in the determination of asylum appeals. The Asylum Gender Guidelines noted that the dominant view of what constitutes a "real refugee" had been of a man and this had meant that women asylum seekers in the UK may not benefit equally from the protection offered by the Refugee Convention. The guidelines aim to ensure that the gender of the asylum seeker does not prejudice their application.

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Topless Calendars At Work Banned!

The Dignity at Work Bill 2001 was introduced in the House of Lords. It provides that all employees "shall have a right to dignity at work". It prohibits harassment, bullying and any conduct which causes the employee "to be alarmed or distressed".

Examples of sexual harassment include; unwelcome sexual advances, propositions and demands for sexual favours, (and worsening of behaviour if a sexual advance is rejected), and unsolicited/unwanted gifts; unwanted or derogatory comments about clothing or appearance, leering' and suggestive gestures and remarks; inappropriate physical contact, for example, invading someone's personal space and unnecessary touching, through to sexual assault and rape (although rape is defined as a separate criminal offence) and displaying offensive material, such as pornographic pictures, page-three type pin- ups or calendars, including circulating such material in emails.

The Right To Adopt

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 gave unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, the right to adopt.

Sexual Offences Act

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 partly replaced the Sexual Offences Act 1956 with more specific and explicit wording - see legislation.gov.uk. Sexual Offences include:


Flashing (exposure) - for a man to "intentionally expose his genitals, or intend for someone to be alarmed or distressed by his appearance" and for a woman to expose her nipples free of clothing and clearly visible to at least two people.

Grooming - it is an offence to arrange a meeting with a child under 16, for oneself or someone else, with the intent of sexually abusing the child. any communication with a child for the purpose of abusing them – in person or otherwise – is legally considered to be grooming.

Voyeurism - is classified as watching a person "in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy, and the person’s genitals, buttocks or breasts are exposed or covered only with underwear".

Trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation

Sexual activity in a public lavatory - makes it an offence intentionally to engage in sexual activities in a public lavatory.

Same-sex Couples Can Register A Civil Partnership

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into effect on December 5th 2005. Under the Act, same-sex couples can register a civil partnership, which has almost the same legal effects, rights and obligations as marriage does for mixed-sex couples, however, legally, it is not marriage.

The Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 - criminalised trafficking into, within, and out of, the UK for ALL forms of exploitation.

Prison campaigner - For five years Pauline Campbell organised protests outside HM Prisons Brockhill, Holloway and New Hall to raise public awareness about the alarming death toll of women in British prisons. Pauline started campaigning outside prisons following the suicide, by drugs overdose, of her only daughter Sarah Campbell at 18 years old, in Styal Prison, Cheshire, England, in 2003. Though Pauline was repeatedly arrested (15 times) she was not sent to prison. Heartbreaking, Pauline Campbell took her own life with a massive overdose of anti-depressants. Her body was discovered curled up on her daughter Sarah's grave at Oakhills cemetery in Malpas, Cheshire, in 2010.

"Baby On Board" Badge Introduced

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

TfL's "Baby on Board" badge launched in 2005 to help pregnant women get a seat across the Transport for London (TfL) network.

  • 2017 - The Blue "Please offer me a seat" badge for people with hidden disabilities was rolled out across the Transport for London (TfL) in 2017.

In 2005, The Forced Marriage Unit was set up to provide support to victims of forced marriage as well as expert training and guidance to professionals. It is jointly run by the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

  • 2007 - The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 (applicable in England and Wales, and in Northern Ireland) was passed, which enables the victims of forced marriage to apply for court orders for their protection.

"Spinster" - England and Wales stopped using the terms "spinster" and "bachelor" to describe unmarried people on official documents, in 2005, and was replaced by the term "single". The term "spinster" was first used in the mid-1300s to describe a "woman who spins for a living". Spinning was considered as a low-status, low-income job and tended to be undertaken by unmarried women. By the eighteenth century the term "spinster" became synonymous with "old maid" which was a term used to dismiss and deride women who were past an age where it was deemed appropriate for them to be married. Literature is full of handsome "eligible bachelors" but never of a "eligible spinster".

Discrimination On The Basis Of Sexual Orientation Outlawed

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 - made it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods, facilities and services, education, disposal and management of premises and exercise of public functions.

Equal prize money for Wimbledon Tennis Singles Champions - in 2007, Wimbledon Tennis Tournament awarded for the first time in 39 years, equal prize money for men and women winners - £700,000. For example in 1968, the Gentlemen's Singles champion (Australian Rod Laver) received £2,000 prize money compared to the Ladies' Singles champion (American Billie Jean King) who received £750 - that's a staggering 62.5% less winnings for Billie Jean King. Prize money was first awarded in 1968, when professional players were allowed to compete in the Championships for the first time. See for yourself Wimbledon's timeline of Prize money for The Championships. FYI, Wimbledon's equal prize money came 34 years later than the U.S. Open which offered equal prize money to men and women competitors, in 1973 and the first of the four Grand Slam tournaments to offer equal prize money.

Equality and... Public Breastfeeding!

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of: age, disability, sex (gender), gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion/belief and sexual orientation. The Equality Act 2010, thus, makes employers legally responsible if an employee is sexually harassed at work by another employee, and the employer has not taken "all reasonable steps" to prevent it from happening. According to the Equality Act of 2010, treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding a child of any age is considered sex discrimination. Therefore, it is legal to breastfeed in public places, anywhere in the UK.

Cyber-flashing - Cyber-flashing is when a person sends obscene pictures to strangers online, often done through Bluetooth or AirDrop transfers between devices. Find out more about Cyber-flashing.

  • Bravo the Scots - cyber flashing, has been illegal in Scotland since 2010.
  • England and Wales - on March 13, 2022 (twelve years later than Scotland) cyber-flashing became illegal in England and Wales, as part of the Online Safety Act.
  • England and Wales - on March 13, 2022 (twelve years later than Scotland) cyber-flashing became illegal in England and Wales, as part of the Online Safety Act. You can now report cyber flashing incidents to the police by calling 101 or, if the cyber-flashing occurred whilst you were travelling on the rail network / tube, then report it online / call (0800 40 50 40) the British Transport Police.
  • 2024 - Nicholas Hawkes, a convicted paedophile and registered sex offender, become the first person to be imprisoned for cyber-flashing in England and Wales, for sending a picture of his erect penis to a 15-year-old girl.
  • FYI - AirDrop is a feature on iPhones, iPods and iMacs that uses Bluetooth to create a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi network between devices. When AirDrop is switched on, it automatically detects supported devices within a radius of 10 metres and also on trains or buses. You can turn Airdrop off on your iPhone by:
    1. Go to Settings > General > AirDrop
    2. Choose the option – Receiving Off

Stalking Outlawed

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Protection of Freedoms Act created two new offences of stalking by inserting new sections 2A and 4A into the PHA 1997. The new offences which came into force on 25 November 2012, are not retrospective, and provide further options for prosecutors to consider when selecting charges. The Home Office issued guidelines in relation to the stalking offences.

Clare's Law

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

"Clare's Law" - The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) 2014 enables a victim or potential victim of domestic abuse, to ask the police to disclose information about their partner's or ex-partner's previous abusive or violent offending. The Law is named after Clare Wood who was murdered in 2009 by her boyfriend. Anyone in an intimate relationship, regardless of gender, can make an enquiry, but information is only given to someone at risk or a person who is in a position to safeguard the victim.

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act - Same Sex marriage became legal in England, Wales and Scotland

Flexible hours - The Flexible Working Regulations 2014 were introduced allowing more ease around childcare. An employee who has been continuously employed for a period of at least 26 weeks is entitled to make a flexible working application.

The first World Menopause Month (October) - was launched in October 2014. The International Menopause Society promoted it and launched a campaign called "Prevention of Diseases After Menopause". The aim is raise awareness of the menopause and chronic diseases that are more likely to affect women after menopause.

The first female, First Minister of Scotland - Nicola Sturgeon became the first female First Minister of Scotland and first female Leader of the Scottish National Party.

The Sun Calls Time "Page 3" Topless Models

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Time up on topless "Page 3" models - After 44 years The Sun newspaper quietly published their last "Page 3" female topless model on Friday, January 16, 2015. German supermodel Stephanie Marrian was The Sun's first ever "Page 3" girl in 1970. Women had been protesting against The Sun's "Page 3" and surprisingly the "No More Page 3" campaign received support from... the Girl Guides! However, The Sun still featured a "Page 3" female model wearing underwear or bathing suit.

The first Asian woman to serve as a High Court judge in the United Kingdom - Dame Parmjit Kaur "Bobbie" Cheema-Grubb was sworn in on 25 November 2015, as a High Court judge.

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) - was founded in 2015 to fight for justice for all women born in the 1950s (on or after 6th April 1950 to 5th April 1960) affected by the changes to the State Pension Age (SPA) that were implemented with inadequate or no notice. The 1995 Conservative Government's State Pension Act included plans to increase women's state pension age from 60 to 65 so that it was the same as men's and, commenced in 2018.

The Right For Females To Wear Flat Shoes At Work

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

High heels at work - In 2016, receptionist, Nicola Thorp, was dismissed by Portico from work for not wearing high heels. Nicola started an online petition "Make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work" which gained widespread support from public figures such as Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and MPs such as Caroline Dinenage. Outsourcing firm Portico stated that Nicola Thorp "had signed the appearance guidelines" but after Thorp launched her petition, the firm changed their policy. The new guideline stated that all female employees "can wear plain flat shoes or plain court shoes as they prefer." With over 130,000 signatures, it was considered for a debate in Parliament.

In January 2017, two parliamentary committees decided that Portico had broken the law but the company had already changed its terms of employment. A parliamentary debate took place on 6 March 2017, when MPs decided the UK government should change the law to prevent the demand being made by employers. However, this was rejected by the government in April 2017 as they stated that existing legislation was "adequate".

Childcare Act

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Childcare Act 2016 - made provisions for free childcare entitlements for 2-, 3- and 4-year olds, 30 hours per week of free childcare and the introduction of 30 hours free childcare for children in foster care. The ACT was introduced to make returning to work easier for new Mothers.


Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

#MeToo - The phrase "Me Too" was initially used by sexual assault survivor and activist Tarana Burke, on Myspace in 2006. Following the exposure of the widespread sexual-abuse allegations against American film producer Harvey Weinstein, in early October 2017, American actress Alyssa Milano posted on Twitter, "If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem". Across social media and the world, the "Me Too" movement began to spread virally as a hashtag. By early November 2017, #MeToo had been retweeted 23 million times, in 85 countries.

Women Still Fighting For Equal Pay

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Gender pay gap figures to be public - As of 2018, all UK companies with larger than 250 employees must make their gender pay gap figures public and declare them to the government. They also have to publish the percentage of men and women who receive bonuses.

Glasgow's equal pay strike - Though The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1970 woman across the country are still not receiving equal pay. On 23 and 24 October around 8,000 women including school staff, nursery workers, care workers, caterers and cleaners walked out on strike in the largest equal pay strike since the Equal Pay Act was passed. It was a long-running dispute over women being paid less than men in jobs of the same grade. Under different political leaderships, Glasgow City Council fought for ten years, legal claims for equal pay all the way to Scotland’s highest court. in October 2019, Glasgow City Council agreed to pay out a reported £548m to compensate the women for the money they should have been paid.

All combat roles open to women - British Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced that all combat roles were open to women, including infantry and special forces units.

The first female Black Rod - after 650 years, the UK parliament announces the first female Black Rod, Sarah Clarke. A Black Rod is a senior officer in the House of Lords, who is responsible for controlling access to and maintaining order within the House and its precincts.

Upskirting Outlawed

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 amended the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to make Upskirting a specific offence of voyeurism. Upskirting offenders face up to 2 years in jail, with the most serious Upskirting offenders put on the sex offenders register.

The world's first ever "two-womb" baby born was born - A British lesbian couple became the first in the world to carry the same baby in both their wombs as part of a landmark "shared motherhood" procedure. The "shared motherhood" procedure involved the eggs of the biological mother being placed inside a miniature capsule and inserted into her womb, where they were incubated. After the incubation of the eggs, they were taken out of the first mother's womb and placed into the womb of the gestational mother, who carried the baby to term.

High St Safe Spaces For Victims Of Domestic Abuse

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Introduced during the UK's COVID lockdowns of 2020, Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for victims of domestic abuse. Currently independent pharmacies, Boots, Superdrug, Well pharmacies, Morrisons and TSB banks across the UK are offering Safe Spaces.

The Domestic Abuse Act

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 - Before the commencement of The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, domestic abuse had not been defined. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines domestic violence as an attack against someone by any other person with whom that they are presently, or have been in a domestic relationship. Essentially the Act provides protection for victims of domestic violence and seeks to punish the perpetrators of such crimes. Under the Act, local authorities must give housing priority to victims who have lost their home due to fleeing domestic abuse. Moreover, the Act also places a duty on local authorities to help domestic abuse victims receive therapy, advocacy, and counselling in secure accommodation. It also prohibits offenders from cross-examining their victims in person in the family courts. Note: it has been reported that the Met received 19,000 allegations of sexual offences in 2020 - poignantly, one can not estimate how many sexual offences have gone unreported for fear of their abusers and the victims understandable lack of faith of the prosecution "SYSTEM".

Women Protests:

  • Sarah Everard Vigils, 13 - 16 March 2021 - During a UK COVID lockdown, on the evening of 3 March 2021, Sarah Everard, after visiting a friend near Clapham Common was walking home to Brixton Hill, London. Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens, falsely arrested her under the pretence of having breached COVID-19 regulations. He drove her to near Dover where he raped and strangled her, before burning her body and disposing of her remains. Following the death of Sarah Everard vigils were held on the evening of 13 March. At the vigil on Clapham Common the police's response was controversial and four arrests for breaches of COVID-19 regulations were made! This was not the only murder of a women during UK COVID times, for example:
    • 7 June 2020 - as they celebrated Bibaa's birthday on 7 June 2020, sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were horrifically stabbed to death in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, London by Danyal Hussein in a 'sacrificial deal'. Beyond even more evil... PCs Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis who were sent to guard the crime scene where the bodies of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were found, have been each been jailed for, ONLY, 33 months for taking photos of the two murdered sisters and shared the images on WhatsApp groups. During the night of 8 June; PC Deniz Jaffer took four pictures of Nicole Smallman and her sister's Bibaa Henry bodies in situ and Pc Jamie Lewis took two, and superimposed his face on to one of them to create a "selfie-style" image. 33 months jail term - really?
    • September 17 - Sabina Nessa, was murdered by Koci Selamaj, on the evening of September 17 while walking in Cator Park in Kidbrooke, London to meet a friend at a bar.
  • "Girls Night In", 27 October 2021 - Across UK (in almost 50 locations), thousands of students and women boycotted nightclubs and bars and stayed at home or took to the streets, as part of the "Girls Night In" protest to highlight the problem of drink spiking and call for tougher measures on drink spiking. It came after a surge of reported cases of drink spiking and victims being spiked by people who injected them with needles.

Rape prosecutions: I can't find, a more recent set of stats but to give an indication (but bare in mind 2021 was a COVID year), The Victims Commissioner reported:

  • In the year to December 2021, 67,125 rape offences were recorded - an all-time high.
  • In the year to December 2021, only 5% of rapes that were given an outcome by the police resulted in a charge.
  • 2020-21 - there were 2,409 completed rape prosecutions compared to 5,190 in 2016-17
  • 2020-21 - there were 1,409 convictions compared to 2,689 in 2016-17
  • The Rape Review Action Plan which set out the government's action plan for improving the Criminal Justice System's response to rape in England and Wales and "return to 2016 levels", has been extended to December 2024.

Honour Killing - In September 2021, Kashif Anwar (aged 29, from Leeds), pushed his pregnant wife, lawyer Fawziyah Javed (aged 31, from Leeds), off Edinburgh's Arthur’s Seat (an ancient volcano). Fawziyah fell 15 metres (50ft) to the ground below, which lead to her and her 17 week old unborn child's death. In her last dying words, Fawziyah told a rescuer that Kashif, her abusive husband, had pushed her, because she “told him I wanted to end [the marriage]” and told a police constable: “Don’t let my husband near me, he pushed me.” In April 2023, the jury at the High Court in Edinburgh found Kashif Anwar guilty of murdering Fawziyah Javed and he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 20 years. Watch Channel 4's documentary "The Push: Murder on the Cliff".

Davina McCall: Sex, Myths and the Menopause - game-changing Channel 4 documentary has helped open up the conversation of the deeply-engrained stigma and taboo, surrounding the Menopause. My poor Mummy suffered in silence (as many women have) and, didn't tell me about it, regarding my future! And as I act v young and work in a v young industry and have younger friends, no way was I gonna discuss this with them. Many of the 3.4 million women aged between 50 and 64 in the UK, can suffer from it.

Child Q - Police Racism And Misogynism

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK


Police Racism - Child Q is suing the Met Police and a school in Hackney, London, over an incident which occurred in 2020. A black 15-year-old female pupil, known as Child Q, was taken out of an exam to the school's medical room and strip-searched by two female Met police officers who were looking for cannabis. The girl's intimate body parts were exposed and she was made to take off her sanitary towel. No other adult was present and her parents were not contacted. No drugs were found. A Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review in March 2022, conducted by the City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP) concluded the strip-search was unjustified and racism "was likely to have been an influencing factor". This ghastly incident is utterly unacceptable. In 2023, The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed that four Met officers had been served with gross misconduct notices but the trail runs dry from then.

Operation Soteria - Between January 2021 and August 2022, a team of academics conducted deep dives on the police response to rape in 5 police forces in England and Wales. Operation Soteria, found that the police treatment of the crime of rape, was woefully lacking. Following the deep dives, the police have developed tailored improvement plans to address the findings. The number of rape reports in the UK, continues to increase YET the backlog continues to grow.

Violence Against Women - Listing some of the tragic victims (and faces) in the first half of 2022, (sorry, for examples of London): Yasmin Chkaifi, Mum-of-two, was stabbed to death in Chippenham Road in Maida Vale; Lesma Jackson, 84, was found dead at home in Enfield with a 'number of injuries'; Ashley Wadsworth, a Canadian teenager, who had been visiting London died of stab wounds to the chest in Chelmsford; Sabita Thanwanidied, a 19-year-old psychology student, died from sharp forced trauma wounds to her neck at her City University accommodation in Clerkenwell; Yasmin Begum, a mum-of-two, was stabbed to death at her home in East London whilst her children were at school; Shotera Bibi, an 80-year-old pensioner, was found stabbed to death at her home in Manor Park; three women were brutally killed at a house in Bermondsey - NHS worker Dolet Hill, and her husband Denton Burke, were stabbed to death in their kitchen alongside their daughter Tanysha Ofori-Akuffo and their granddaughter Samantha Drummonds; Ania Jedrkowiak, a 21-year-old Polish national, was stabbed to death in an alleyway in South Ealing; Zara Aleena, a law graduate, died after being stamped and kicked, while walking home from a night out... that is just London!

Recently while walking home in the afternoon, two ladies asked me directions to the hight street (Brixton) and mentioned that they had just moved there and they wanted to eat a sandwich - I went into sweet overdrive proudly extolling all the cool places in the hood. After our enthusiastic fun exchange, they asked finally... how far was the tube station from the spot (near where they lived) and.. how safe, was it to walk home circa 22.00. Was that it that they asked because they were Anglo-Indian and or, women? Christ sake - UK government and the Police get a handle on this.

Gender-neutral Brit Awards 2022 - the Brit Awards removed separate male and female prizes for Best Solo and Best International Act and replaced them with two gender-neutral awards: Artist of the Year and International Artist of the Year. The start of handbag fights - why replace? Why not add extra awards? Taking to the stage, as she won the gender-neutral Artist of the Year Award, Adele said: "I understand why the name of this award has changed but I really love being a woman and being a female artist". I high five Adele!

UK Bills / Acts in consideration:

  • Minimum legal age of marriage to be raised to 18? - to avoid young people being pressured by their parents into marrying against their own wishes, activists have been campaigning to raise the minimum legal age of marriage in England and Wales to 18. The UK government is considering this.
  • Online Safety Bill - The Online Safety Bill is a proposed Act by the UK Government which aims to establish a new way to regulate online content - covering not just abusive messages but all harmful material online, from bullying through to pornography. The Bill places a duty of care on tech firms like Facebook and Twitter that allow users to post their own content or to interact with one another and, search engine providers, to protect users from harmful content: ensuring children are not exposed to harmful or inappropriate content ensuring that adults are protected from legal but harmful content preventing the proliferation of illegal content / activity such as terrorist material, racial abuse and as child pornography.

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

The World

Women of Ukraine - Ukraine has been an independent state since 1991. In December 2021, Ukraine's defence ministry claimed that about 90,000 Russian soldiers were stationed near their border and in rebel-controlled areas in Ukraine’s east. Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that this was an army exercise. The "West" did nothing as they did nothing in 2014. On 24 February 2022, (four days after the end of the Winter Beijing Olympics) Russia began a military invasion of (war on) Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin : "The purpose of this operation is to protect people who for eight years now have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime... To this end, we will seek to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine..."

Putin's disinformation campaign has been utterly despicable as spoken by Putin, his spokesmen and the state media - the lying propaganda utterly reeks of Hitler's heinous propaganda. It is a war NOT a "special operation"! Moreover, Putin is committing war crimes: bombing (sometimes with illegal cluster & thermobaric bombs) civilian residences, schools, hospitals, infrastructure, nuclear plants, shooting fleeing civilians (women and children) in agreed Human Corridors ... In democratic countries we have all witnessed through autonomous news and social media the barbaric war crimes playing in front of our eyes... innocent Ukrainian women and children fleeing in millions, the huge courage of the incredibly brave women staying as they can't leave / fighting or staying to sustain the infrastructure for Ukrainian (& Western) democracy and independence. Forensic doctors carrying out post-mortem examinations on bodies in mass graves say they have found evidence that some women were raped before being killed by Russian forces. But, also a shout out to the incredible brave Russians protesting against the war (which they are not allowed to call it) in a you-will-be jailed dictatorship.

Not only has Putin committed war crimes on Ukraine, he is false flagging for the potential use of chemical warfare on civilians (which he has used in previous wars), threatened Western / NATO direct intervention with implications of a threat of nuclear war AND, Putin has increased the continued de-liberalism of his own citizens rights. Lest we forget Putin has instigated many wars: Chechen war 1999-2000, Georgia 2008, Ukraine 2014, Syria 2015 to present and, Kazakhstan 2022.

To all women (civilian men & children) who are victims of war, I am so truly, sorry. I know it only from my parents experience in WW2 - holy moly... 82 years ago! I can't fathom what a nightmare it must be like AND to leave your fathers, husbands, sons, grandsons, boyfriends, boy friends behind to fight... Slava Ukraini!

Women's Education: Women of Afghanistan - Women's Education Banned by The Taliban: The Taliban have effectively banned girls from secondary education in Afghanistan, by ordering high schools to re-open only for boys. Can you imagine how your life would be, if, as a woman you had no right to further education?

Venture capital investment for female-founded companies - accorinding to The World Economic Forum, companies founded solely by women received only 2% of all venture capital (VC) investment in 2022. Moreover, of all VC 'cheque-writers', only about 15% are women.

Apparently, several female biotechnology founders have argued that the scandal surrounding Elizabeth Holmes has made accessing venture capital funds even more challenging. Elizabeth Holmes was once heralded as America's youngest self-made female billionaire. Elizabeth is an American biotechnology entrepreneur who was convicted of fraud in connection to her multibillion-dollar blood-testing start-up, Theranos. In November 2022, she was sentenced to jail for 135 months (now shortened by two years) and ordered to pay $250 (£197) a month for her share of $452m in restitution to 14 investors. Do watch the miniseries "The Dropout"

Hijabs / Headscarves: Women of Iran - Hijabs / Headscarves: the awful death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on 16 September, has sparked outrage and countywide protests which are being thwacked by security forces. Mahsa was with her brother in Tehran when she was arrested by morality police, who accused her of breaking the law requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf. While in a detention centre she collapsed (after being beaten?), was taken to hospital and after spending three days in a coma, sadly died. I am shouting with you: "Jin, jiyan, azadi!" — "Woman, life, freedom!"

Morality Police - After the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Iranian authorities imposed a compulsory dress code requiring all women to wear a headscarf (hijab) and loose-fitting clothing that disguises their figures in public. In Iran, among other things, Morality Police are tasked with ensuring women conform with the authorities' interpretation of "proper" clothing. Morality Police Officers have the power to stop women and assess whether they are showing too much hair; their trousers and overcoats are too short or close-fitting; or they are wearing too much make-up. Punishments for violating the rules include a fine, prison or flogging.

Islamic Religious Police (also known as morality police) enforce religious observance and public morality across Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Al-Qaeda and ISIL-controlled areas...

World Child marriage (marriage before the age of 18) - From UNICEF: Globally around 21% of young women (650 million girls) were married before their 18th birthday, circa 22 million people were living in forced marriage on any given day in 2021 and, 12 million girls under 18 are married each year. The countries with the highest rates of child marriage before age 18 (counted among women now aged 20 to 24) in order are: Niger (76%), Central African Republic (68%), Chad (67%), Bangladesh (59%) and Mali (52%). Not only is it a human rights violation, child marriage will lead to a lifetime of suffering as the girls are: less likely to remain in school, more likely to experience domestic violence and die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s, and their children are more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month of life.

Banning Abortions: Women of America - Banning Abortions: On 24 Jun 2022, the move of the Supreme Court to strike down the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, handed American states a free rein to limit or ban abortions. Half of U.S. on states are expected to ban abortion or impose heavy restrictions following the Supreme Court decision to overturn a landmark ruling that legalised pregnancy terminations nationwide. 2022, in a so called liberal country this is insane!

Women of some parts of the world - It is so sad, that still in the 2020s, in some countries women's rights and equality are still utterly perverse.

2022, 8 September:
The Death of Longest-reigning Monarch in British History

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Queen Elizabeth II (1926 - 2022) was not just our Queen but was known on EARTH, as "The Queen". At the age of 21 she announced "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong." Throughout her reign she, did outstandingly give service showing kindness across different faiths and cultures, was a patron of more than 600 charities, military associations, professional bodies, and public service organisations in the United Kingdom and though she did not set laws nor voice political opinion she did sometimes act on her moral perspective.

Apartheid - In the 1980s, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was against the imposition of sanctions on white-ruled South Africa. (Some historians believe that Thatcher believed sanctions to be "a crime against free trade" but privately told the South African government to release Nelson Mandela, that Britain didn’t like the system and that it had to change). Because of South Africa's terrible apartheid policy, the Queen made it clear to Thatcher that as head of the Commonwealth, the Queen approved of sanctions.

Women's Rights - In 1998, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia went to see the Queen at Balmoral Castle and accepted an invitation by the Queen of a tour of the estate. Knowing that in Saudi Arabia at the time, women were banned from driving (the law was altered in 2018) she decisively leapt into the driving seat and showed off her driving skills by flooring it down the bumpy country roads. According to a British diplomat: “Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead."

During this awfully sad week of mourning, amazing documentaries have revealed how incredibly hard she worked, how many people she met, her sense of humour and delightful smile.

Worldwide, Queen Elizabeth II is an icon. Upon the death of her father, George VI, the coronation of Elizabeth II took place on 2 June 1953, a time when most woman roles were still as house wives. Queen Elizabeth II reigned for 70 years and 214 days making her the longest of any British monarch, the longest recorded of any female head of state in history, and the second-longest verified reign of any monarch in history. Alas, there are too many accolades to give her here.

It is sad to think that there wont be a UK Queen for at least two monarchy reigns but thanks to her "The Succession to the Crown Act (2013)", this act amended the provisions of the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement to end the system of male first-born, under which a younger son was able to displace an elder daughter in the line of succession.

After the death of my soooooo missed Mummy, I always look out for rainbows. On the announcement of Queen Elizabeth II's death, rainbows were seen above Buckingham Palace (a double rainbow) and Windsor Castle. A day after her coffin left Scotland, a fireball meteor was seen blazingly, descending down over Northern Ireland to Scotland. On the last night of The Queen lying in state, a rainbow appeared above Westminster Abbey. A truly devine depature. As the new king, King Charles III, her son, lamented: "May 'flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest'."

(From a proud Scottish Army Kid), Thank you, stellar, Queen Elizabeth II.

The UK & The World

Women's Peace and Security Index Maps 2021 compared to 2023 (below)

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK
Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK


  • In the 2023 edition of the global Women Peace and Security Index (WPS Index) that scores and ranks 177 countries in terms of women,s inclusion, justice, and security: The uK ranks 26/177 (WPS Index Score: 0.86) while the worst ranked country is Afghanistan (WPS Index Score: 0.286); Source: Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.
  • Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 received royal assent on 26 October 2023. From October 2024, employers will need to comply with a new duty to take "reasonable steps" to prevent sexual harassment of employees. The Act is a watered-down version of the original private member’s bill proposed by Wera Hobhouse MP. The original bill was drafted:
    1. to require employers to take "ALL reasonable steps" to protect employees from sexual harassment. This obligation, however, has been reduced to "reasonable steps".
    2. to reintroduce protection against harassment of employees by third parties, such as customers and clients. This duty of care, was scrapped during its passage through parliament.
  • The Online Safety Act 2023 was finally passed on 26 October 2023 and came into force on 31 January 2024. The Online Safety Act is an act of the UK Parliament to regulate online speech and media. It puts the onus on tech firms such as social media companies to take more responsibility for the content on their platforms in order to protect children from some legal but harmful material, as well as given the regulator, Ofcom, more enforcement powers. Companies like Meta, X, Instagram, TikTok and Google have always held themselves out to the public as platforms as they argue that whoever uploads content to their platform is de facto the publisher, and is consequently directly responsible for the content. Publishers can be sued over the content they curate, but passive platforms, as yet, can not. The UK's Online Safety Act has received criticism for not being comprehensive enough.
  • UK Drink spiking - In December 2023, it was announced that the UK government would amend the Criminal Justice Bill and update the Offences Against The Person Act 1861 to make clear that spiking is illegal, which affects mostly women. Now, Spiking is a crime in any form – those found to have spiked can face tough sentences including Life imprisonment for those who wound with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
  • Domestic abuse - For the year ending March 2023, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that 1.4 million women aged 16 years and over experienced domestic abuse in the last year. This is a prevalence rate of approximately 6 in 100 women. Source: Office of National Statistics.
  • The Final Protest - a powerful installation of over 100 protest placards, each one representing a woman killed by a man within the previous 12 months, was displayed on 5th December 2023, Victoria Tower Gardens by the Houses of Parliament and organised by killedwomen.org. A hundred women killed by a man in 2023, in the UK, equates to a woman was killed by a man, every three days, in the UK. SHOCKING!
  • Calls for an overhaul of outdated abortion laws in England and Wales - in June 2023, a woman was sentenced to 28 months in jail for receiving, after a remote consultation, medication under the "pills by post" scheme, which was introduced during the Covid pandemic for unwanted pregnancies up to 10 weeks. She was prosecuted for procuring pills for a medication abortion to terminate a pregnancy beyond the legal timeframe, which is punishable with up to a life sentence. Prosecutors said the woman, a mother of three, had knowingly misled the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) by saying she was below the 10-week cut-off, when she believed she was about 28 weeks pregnant. The case sparked calls for an overhaul of outdated abortion laws in England and Wales, which require authorisation from two doctors for an abortion, among other barriers. In July 2023, an appeals court halved and suspended the woman's sentence.
  • UK's gender pay gap - According to the The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), in April 2023, the UK's gender pay gap for full-time employees was 7.7%, that is to say that the average pay for full-time female employees was 7.7% lower than for full-time male employees - for every £1 a full-time male employee earned, a full-time female worker earned 92.3 pence. Moreover, compared with lower-paid employees, the gender pay gap among higher earners is much larger, Source: Office of National Statistics.
  • Women's sport - The Lionesses' Women's World Cup Final was watched by 21.2 m, making it the second most watched BBC event in 2023, after the Coronation of King Charles III. Awesome, considering the English FA Council lifted it's ban on women playing on the grounds of affiliated clubs in 1971. And, Bravo, the fab Lionesses won the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Final. Fifa's Prize money is paid by FIFA to the national association of each respective team who will then be responsible for passing that on to players. Sorry, it's been so hard to find info, so do correct me if I'm wrong. The winners of the Women's World Cup 2023, The England Team, were awarded a total of $10.5 million, of which $4.29 million (£3.4m) was awarded to the FA, as well as $270,000 (£212,000) to each player (source: sportingnews.com). Compare this to the 2022 FIFA Men's World Cup Final, the winning men's team (Argentina) was awarded $42 million (£33.34m) (source: FanNation Futbol)

The World

  • (uK) Brexit - I will never stop saying: shyster Boris & England = SHAME on you!
  • Pointless and devastating wars, still going on - Putin's war on Ukraine (started end of main COVID, February 2022) and other current wars in the world
  • Rise in World Poverty - Putin's egocentric boundary increasing war campaign on Ukraine has brought on not only criminal deaths, but inflated energy and food prices which has increased inflation to inhabitants across the world. Countries which have tried to help ailing countries in the past have had to decrease their relief aid to them, to aid their own countries.
  • Climate Danger - in the news, across the world we are seeing the devastation brought on through climate change. Due to Putin's war on Ukraine and it's consequential impact on rising energy and food costs, some countries are devising their own energy independence which conflicts with climate change targets. NASA's Land Surface Temperature map of the world from 2021 - to June 2023... governments - get real!
  • Women's Equality - Holy Moly... it's 2023, and in some countries I can't believe I still sadly, hear on the news...
    • The WORLD: According to the UN DESA "Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2023", if current trends continue, more than 340 million women, an estimated 8% of the world's female population, will live in extreme poverty by 2030, and close to 1 in 4 will experience moderate or severe food insecurity.
    • Afghanistan: Women and girls in Afghanistan are experiencing severe discrimination that may amount to gender persecution. Source: United Nations Of Human Rights
    • India: ongoing rapes in India - there is a social media video of tribal women from the Kuki-Zomi tribe being paraded naked and assaulted, with one allegedly gang raped during an incident in the north-eastern state of Manipur. Source: Sky News
    • Iran: Iran is once again deploying police officers on the streets to enforce its conservative dress code for women ... Source: NY Times
    • Mexico: according to government data, some 10 women and girls are killed every day in Mexico by intimate partners or other family members. Moreover, 2,481 women and girls were officially reported as "missing" in 2022, though civil society groups say the real number is higher. Source: United Nations Of Human Rights
    • In the 2023 edition of the global Women Peace and Security Index which draws on recognised data sources to measure women's inclusion, justice, and security in 177 countries, the 10 WORST countries for Women peace and security are (in order of worst is first) : Afghanistan, Yemen, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Burundi, Syrian Arab Republic, Eswatini, Somalia, Iraq.

The UK & The World

Women's Rights History UK - A women's rights timeline UK

Some examples which I HAVE to say ... Fer Fook Sake, this is 2024 - seriously shame on the UK government! For example ...


  • Women murdered by a man - throughout 2024, The Guardian newspaper aims to report every woman allegedly killed by a man. Track their sad web page. See above, in 2023, in the UK, a woman was killed by a man, every three days while some 10 women and girls were killed every day in Mexico by intimate partners or other family members.
  • Increase ASB against women & my Brixton Hood - it is no longer "nice" going out of my cool flat in Brixton = there are non-residents taking drugs on my front door steps, druggies sifting through our industrial waste bins, guys PEE-ING with exposed teeny weeny willys in the forecourt ... during the day and night. As a girl, they will dis you if you confront them & perhaps threaten you verbally and by wishing to expose their teeny weeny willys again BUT the police and Lambeth Council aren't resolving the ASB.
  • Ongoing Racism - MP Diane Abbott is mentioned admiringly, above as the first black woman to be elected to The House of Commons in 1987. In 2024 Diane has rightfully, reported the Conservative Party's biggest ever donor, Frank Hester who donated £10m to the Tories in 2023, to the Police after he was "alleged" to have said: "It's like trying not to be racist but you see Diane Abbott on the TV, and you're just like ... you just want to hate all Black women because she's there... And I don't hate all Black women at all, but I think she should be shot". Not only do I think this is blatant racism but also misogynistic. What even made it more outrageous was that the UK PM, Rishi Sunak, did not immediately show outrage and he is still keeping that donation to the Conservative party.
  • Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) - The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) announced, on 21 March 2024, that women affected by The 1995 Pensions Act and subsequent legislation should be compensated. Their suggested payouts of between £1,000 and £2,950 a person, fall well short of the £10,000+ that campaigners were calling for. Regardless of the compensation amount, the PHSO cannot compel the government to pay compensation. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have clearly indicated it would "refuse to comply".

Come on World Harmony & Equality! - It's still, utterly, PANTS &, UTTERLY SHAMEFUL!

  • Ukraine: Women & children are still dying because of an unjust invasion by the Russian Government / Army. More than 10,500 civilians have been killed during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including 587 children, and nearly 20,000 injured. Source: savethechildren.net
  • Israel: on the October 7, 2023 Hamas terrorists entered Israel and murdered at least 1,200 Israelis. During the terrorist attack, Israeli women & babies were murdered and babies decapitated, women were raped (rape being used as a weapon of war) and more than 250 Israeli were taken hostage by the Hamas terrorists and brought back to Gaza. Imagine if this had happened in your country and to your compatriots. Yes! There is question over how the Israelis have occupied Palestine BUT did this warrant such a terror attack? Alas, I no longer know who I can trust for unbiased news reporting: neither from the Israelis, Palestinians and even the BBC (who have received over 8,000 complaints about the BBC's coverage of the Gaza war)!.
  • Palestine: Women & children are dying because of Israel's offence to gain their hostages, captured by the Hama's terrorists who have been hidden in tunnels under Gaza ... Way out of my league to wish to discuss further. Though I have been haunted all my life of the nightmare of the Holocaust as I'm half German (my fab Mummy helped hid her half Jewish Boyfriend at the time in, in uber horrific Nazis Berlin, BUT I have also learnt the Jews in Israel had a mega hard "PUSH" on acquiring Palestinian Land ...
  • Other wars in the world ... women & children are dying from conflicts like Yemen, which has been designated as one of the Worst Places in the World to be a Woman
  • Afghanistan: since the Taliban took power in August 2021, the de facto authorities have introduced more than 50 decrees that have directly curtailed the rights and dignity of women. Police enforcement has increased harassment in public spaces and further limited women's ability to leave their homes. Source: The United Nations. Shame on the Conservative government on their shambolic evacuation of Afghanistan who helped them the British Army.
  • India: According to the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2022 police recorded 31,516 rape cases, a 20 percent increase from 2021. The real figure of rape cases in India, is believed to be far higher due to the stigma surrounding sexual violence and victims' lack of faith in police.
  • USA: with the reversal of Roe v Wade case regarding abortion care in the United States in 2023, states which currently ban abortion in USA
  • The World
    • Currently, 1 in every 10 women in the world lives in extreme poverty. Source: unwomen.org
    • In conflict areas, women are 7.7 times more likely to live in extreme poverty. Source: ditto
    • More than 614 million women and girls live in conflict-affected areas - which has doubled since 2017.Source: ditto
    • By 2030, climate change is set to leave 236 million more women and girls hungry - twice as many as men (131 million).
    • More than 100 million women and girls could be lifted out of poverty if governments prioritised education and family planning, fair and equal wages, and expanded social benefits.Source: ditto
    • Deepfake porn – AI is being abused to superimpose images of women and girls into pornographic videos without their consent. This technology is now so easy to use - see BBC Another Body: My AI Porn Nightmare and is being unregulated.

Some UK Women's Support Links

Support for victims of domestic abuse:
Domestic abuse is a crime. Domestic abuse is never the fault of the person who is experiencing it.
  • Not sure what the subtle signs of domestic violence and abuse are, then see NHS domestic abuse list and nationaldahelpline.org.uk.
  • How to cover your tracks online - see womensaid.org.uk. Warning: even if you to try to cover your tracks online, your abuser may still be able to discover your online activities. It is best you use a computer / mobile phone that your abuser cannot access.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need immediate help:
  • Police: on mobiles: dial 999 - if you don't speak or answer questions, press 55 when prompted and your call will be transferred to the police.
  • 24hr National Domestic Abuse Helpline - Freephone: 0808 2000 247 (24 hours)
  • Pharmacy: Look out for "Ask for ANI" logo on display - ask the Pharmacist or shopping assistant for "ANI". "ANI" stands for "Action Needed Immediately" and sounds phonetically like the name Annie to try and protect you. They will offer you a private space, provide a phone and ask if you need support from the police or other domestic abuse support services.
Other domestic abuse support sites:
Scotland: womensaid.scot and their Helpline: 0800 027 1234
Wales: welshwomensaid.org.uk and their Live Fear Free Helpline: 0808 8010 800
Northern Ireland: niwaf.org and their Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline: 0808 802 1414
LGBT Foundation Domestic Abuse Support (lgbt.foundation/domesticabuse) and their Helpline: 0345 3 30 30 30

Support for victims of rape:

Support for victims of stalking:

Support for victims of:
FGM (Female Genital Mutilation ) - gov.uk/female-genital-mutilation-help-advice
Forced marriage - gov.uk/guidance/forced-marriage and ikwro.org.uk (The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation)
Honour Based Abuse in the UK - karmanirvana.org.uk
Modern slavery - gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-victims-of-human-trafficking

Support for bereaved families of women who were killed by men:

Asylum Support

Working Mothers
General - nct.org.uk
Flexible working hours - gov.uk/flexible-working
Maternity pay and leave - gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave
Free childcare - gov.uk/30-hours-free-childcare


IVF Support

Diversity Support:

Legal Aid:

Womans health support:
NHS Women's Health
Breast cancer - how to check your breasts NHS Youtube Vid and supoort organisations
masic.org.uk - for women who have been injured during childbirth
menopausesupport.co.uk and NHS menopause symptons

NHS Women's Screenings:
NHS Cervical screening - between the ages 25 to 49: every 3 years; 50 to 64 every 5 years

NHS Fibroid screening - unless you feel pain or having a baby - NONE! Do it yourself! By chance while getting a private Ultrasound for abdomen pain as it was taking too long on the NHS, I decided to also have a pelvis scan! Holy Moly - a fibroid the size of a honeydew melon was discovered (13 by 10 by 10 com)! I am soooooo slim, my friends couldn't believe it!

NHS Breast screening - between the ages of 50 and 71 every 3 years until you turn 71. I'm gonna ask to keep being tested past 70 as, according to The National Institutes of Health, about a third of female breast cancers are diagnosed in patients aged older than 70.


Test your knowledge on UK Women's Rights Quiz

See how lesbians (YES Lesbians ;), have helped and fought for women's rights in the UK UK Lesbian Rights Timeline

And discover how Lesbian Trailblazers have helped the rights of women across the globe.