Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights highlights the narratives of feminist activism and women’s rights in the UK. Discover more about the stories, people and events that have shaped society, as well as the work that remains unfinished. 

Delve into the fight for women's rights

  • Collage containing a photograh of Sophia Duleep Singh, a Miss World protest leaflet, photograph of Una Marson, print depicting Mary Fildes at Peterloo, and a drawn portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft

    Explore A map of women's resistance in the UK

    The fight for women’s rights has demanded courage, creativity and a conception of a better world. Learn more about the lives, activism and achievements of the women involved with our map of women’s resistance across the UK. Browse by themed categories and see original sources, from photographs to oral histories.

    Read more

    Disputes and direct action

    From protests for equitable labour rights in the Grunwick dispute to disability activism in the Women’s Liberation Movement, uncover some of the unique events that have impacted the broader landscape of women’s rights in the UK.

    Read more
    ""

    The ride for independence: Victorian ladies cycling fashion

    Although seen as commonplace today, cycling in the late 19th century proved to be an activity both liberating and restrictive for women. Charlotte James explores how cycling revolutionised and agitated the fashions of Victorian women.

    Read more
  • ""

    Women in Parliament from 1918–2020

    Women first entered the House of Commons as MPs after the Parliament Act of 1918. Professor Caitríona Beaumont examines the role of women in changing the political landscape in the UK, and the impacts they have made in positively transforming the lives of others.

    Read more

    Silences in the archive: Anti-Caste and fighting white supremacy in Victorian Britain

    The fight against White Supremacy is a movement with roots in Victorian Britain. Caroline Bressey explores the role of figures such as Catherine Impey, and her journal, Anti-Caste, in combatting the legacies of slavery, and social and racial prejudice.

    Read more
    ""

    Unfinished business in the secondary school

    Though the 1870 Education Act established a framework for the schooling of children in Britain the provision of secondary education has remained imbalanced for children based on factors such as gender, race and class. Laura Carter explores the long view of girls in secondary education.

    Read more
    ""

    Changing attitudes

    Explore how societal and political attitudes towards issues relating to women’s rights, gender, race, and class have developed and evolved.

    Read more
  • Illustrated banner for Sci Fi article. features masks being removed from abstract faces

    Feminist futures in science fiction

    Science fiction has often been seen as a masculine genre, yet it has also attracted feminists who find in it a means to survey speculative futures in which gender relations can be played with, exaggerated, tested out or transformed. Margaretta Jolly explores the worlds reimagined by women science fiction writers.

    Read more

    Disputes and direct action

    From protests for equitable labour rights in the Grunwick dispute to disability activism in the Women’s Liberation Movement, uncover some of the unique events that have impacted the broader landscape of women’s rights in the UK.

    Read more
    Rainbow flag outside a house

    The fight for LGBTQ+ equality

    Learn about the history of LGBTQ+ rights in Britain, and hear about some of the experiences of lesbian women as they navigate policy and societal attitudes.

    Read more
    ""

    The history of women's football in the UK

    Although women have likely played football for as long as the game has existed, in the UK there has long been resistance to women’s football. Explore the beginnings of the game and the efforts of women rallying for the right to play.

    Read more

Articles

Banner for disability activism article showing person surrounded by placards

Disabled women organising: Feminism and disability rights activism

Disabled women have long been a force in feminist and disability activism. Beckie Rutherford looks at the people and groups fighting for equal access within the Women’s Liberation Movement.

Read more
Cropped image from illustrated poster in support of the Grunwick Dispute 1977. It shows a line of women holding placards demanding union access

Remembering the Grunwick dispute

The Grunwick dispute marked a critical moment in labour history in the UK, especially for women and migrant workers. Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson look at the events leading up to the dispute and the key figure of Jayaben Desai, and examine its significance today.

Read more
""

Family Planning and Sex in Britain 1900–1960

Before the mid-20th century, approaches to family planning were largely governed by society’s restrictive views on sex. Kate Fisher explores the birth control campaigns before the introduction of the pill in the 1960s.

Read more
Illustrated banner for Sci Fi article. features masks being removed from abstract faces

Feminist futures in science fiction

Science fiction has often been seen as a masculine genre, yet it has also attracted feminists who find in it a means to survey speculative futures in which gender relations can be played with, exaggerated, tested out or transformed. Margaretta Jolly explores the worlds reimagined by women science fiction writers.

Read more
""

Music as protest

Using the voice to make sound and noise is the bare bones of protest, of claiming space and stating you exist. D-M Withers looks at music’s association with protest, from 1970s punk to women’s social movements, examining how music has empowered women to take a stand.

Read more

Reproductive rights and the Women’s Liberation Movement

Explore the progress made by the Women’s Liberation Movement in the fight for reproductive rights in the UK.

Read more
""

Campaigns for equal pay in the 20th century

Campaigners have long fought for equality for women in the workplace. Discover some key moments from the 20th century in the fight for equal pay.

Read more
Banner reading 'Votes for Women'

The campaign for women’s suffrage

In 1918 the Representation of the People Act granted some women the right to vote in parliamentary elections; the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 gave men and women equal voting rights for the first time. Discover how suffragists and suffragettes campaigned for this democratic right.

Read more
Rainbow flag outside a house

The fight for LGBTQ+ equality

Learn about the history of LGBTQ+ rights in Britain, and hear about some of the experiences of lesbian women as they navigate policy and societal attitudes.

Read more

Themes

A map of women's resistance in the UK

Explore stories of women’s lives, rights and activism using our digital map and accompanying activities for secondary schools and young people.

Read more
""

Changing attitudes

Explore how societal and political attitudes towards issues relating to women’s rights, gender, race, and class have developed and evolved.

Read more
""

Disputes and direct action

From protests for equitable labour rights in the Grunwick dispute to disability activism in the Women’s Liberation Movement, uncover some of the unique events that have impacted the broader landscape of women’s rights in the UK.

Read more
""

Education and work

The fight for women to hold equal financial, property and educational rights to men have been hard won. Discover the legal and social developments in women’s education and work since the 19th century.

Read more