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.

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Experiences of women in STEM: working in the scientific civil service

Article by:
Emmeline Ledgerwood

On average around 30 per cent of the world’s researchers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are women. From educational access to negotiating a career in a male-dominated environment, Emmeline Ledgerwood explores some of the influences, opportunities and challenges that defined women’s careers in the scientific civil service during the second half of the 20th century.

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Women in Parliament from 1918–2020

Article by:
Caitríona Beaumont

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.

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The history of women's football in the UK

Article by:
Eleanor Dickens

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.

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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

Article by:
Sundari Anitha, Ruth Pearson

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.

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Photograph taken of activists at the occupation of the Church at Kings Cross.

The English Collective of Prostitutes: Occupation of Holy Cross Church

Article by:
Frankie Miren

For 12 days in late 1982 the English Collective of Prostitutes occupied a church in King’s Cross to protest police brutality. Frankie Miren interviews women who were at the centre of the dispute, and explores explores the legacy of their action today.

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Unfinished business in the secondary school

Article by:
Laura Carter

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.

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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.

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Banner for article about the women's printing press

The Women's Printing Society

Article by:
Elizabeth Crawford

Prior to and during most of the 19th century, the printing trade was considered an exclusively male industry. Elizabeth Crawford looks at how the Women’s Printing Society, founded in 1876, challenged this practice by providing skills and means for women, and promoting feminist ideas throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

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Further themes

Changing attitudes

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

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.

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.

Expressions

Women’s voices in spheres of music, literature, publishing, and fashion have been integral in bringing richness to the cultural life of the UK. Uncover the ways that women have used their artistic expression to progress feminist and human rights.

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.