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.

""

Claudia Jones, Carnival and Black beauty

Article by:
Rochelle Rowe

Claudia Jones is becoming better known as the founder of Carnival in London. But did you know that Claudia was also responsible for the first televised Black beauty competition in the UK? What motivated a communist activist and intellectual to become involved in beauty competitions? In this short piece Rochelle Rowe delves into Claudia’s Black beauty project.

Read more
""

The ride for independence: Victorian ladies cycling fashion

Article by:
Charlotte James

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
""

The censorship of lesbian fiction: From The Well of Loneliness to Tipping the Velvet

Article by:
Greg Buzwell

From Virginia Woolf’s Orlando to Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, lesbian fiction has received varying levels of censorship. Greg Buzwell looks the critical reception to works of literature that dared to explore gender roles and sexuality.

Read more
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.

Read more
""

Music as protest

Article by:
Dr D-M Withers

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

Feminist futures in science fiction

Article by:
Margaretta Jolly

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
""

Print, purpose and profit: Women in publishing

Article by:
Margaretta Jolly

Women involved in the publishing trade write an appealing chapter in the history of women’s work. Margaretta Jolly explores their stories and the barriers that women’s movements have mobilised to confront.

Read more
""

Women writers, anonymity and pseudonyms

Article by:
Greg Buzwell

In the late 18th and 19th centuries, writing as a profession was largely considered an activity unsuitable for women. Greg Buzwell explores the barriers and the lengths that women authors went to in order to publish their work.

Read more
Black and white line image of 3 women with long hair

Lesbian magazines

Arena Three and Sappho were two key publications for lesbian and bisexual women in the UK from the 1960s through to the early 1980s. Explore these magazines and their impacts.

Read more

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.