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 click on the images to see original sources, from photographs to oral histories.

We hope these histories will inspire you to keep learning. There are many more stories to be unearthed and told, and new stories will evolve. The fight for women’s rights remains unfinished business.

[Please note that the map contains discussion of sexual and domestic violence, abortion, sex work and enslavement. Some locations are approximate, because the places are historical and details are not available.]

 

About the map

  • A map of women’s resistance in the UK has grown out of The Business of Women’s Words: Purpose and Profit in Feminist Publishing (BOWW), a partnership project between the University of Sussex, the British Library and the University of Cambridge, generously funded by The Leverhulme Trust.
  • We have created our map primarily for young people, secondary students and teachers, but we hope everyone can enjoy it.
  • All content was created in 2019–20. © British Library. Available under the Creative Commons License.
  • With thanks to Alice O'Driscoll and Charlotte James for contributing ideas and content.
  • Click on each map entry to see a short label text, images from original sources or multimedia from the British Library and other collections, plus links to further reading. The map is best viewed in full-screen.
  • Download a plain-text version of the map.
  • Our map focusses on events, organisations and people from the 18th century onwards. It offers a selection of entries that spatially visualise examples of women’s lives, campaigns or activities that have promoted social, cultural or political change, championed equality and representation, and challenged oppression.

    It cannot cover all of this rich and detailed history, and it is important to highlight that many of the women and groups featured have connections to other locations in the UK and around the world, and equally have been influenced or part of international networks.

    Many examples of women’s resistance have gone unseen, both in the past and today, and there continue to be gaps in our collective knowledge of women’s history because of systemic oppression and discrimination.

    We hope our map provides an opportunity for young people and teachers to engage with women's rights and history through the lens of location and primary sources. Equally, we hope that the map encourages critical thinking about activism and specifically how resistance can play out in different forms and at local, national and international levels.
  • Follow the links below for creative activities and teaching resources to accompany the map.

Activities

Crop of a handmade zine, showing front cover with Women's Resistance title and a page about Sophia Duleep Singh featuring her photograph

Make a zine

Follow these steps to make your own creative zine inspired by our map of women’s resistance in the UK. What are the stories of women’s lives and activism that you want to tell?

Created by Meera Chauda.

Collage featuring different women

Women’s rights: Citizenship lesson activities (Theme 1: Active Citizenship)

Campaigning. Rights. Representation. Protest. These Citizenship lesson activities focus on how women and their allies have fought for women’s rights and the role that we can all play in creating a fairer and more equal world.

Collage featuring photographs of suffragettes and excerpts from newspaper or magazine coverage

Women’s rights: Citizenship lesson activities (Theme 2: Rights)

Campaigning. Rights. Representation. Protest. These Citizenship lesson activities focus on how women and their allies have fought for women’s rights and the role that we can all play in creating a fairer and more equal world.

Collage featuring portraits and primary sources on workers' strikes, including a poster and newsaper

Women’s rights: Citizenship lesson activities (Theme 3: Representation)

Campaigning. Rights. Representation. Protest. These Citizenship lesson activities focus on how women and their allies have fought for women’s rights and the role that we can all play in creating a fairer and more equal world.

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Remembering the Grunwick dispute

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