February 4, 2019
March 16, 2019

Thank you to Unison for inviting me to join a fantastic Women History course.

I am terrible at history, and I certainly wanted to educate myself. We are still fighting for equality.

In 1830, 189 years ago, there was the first recorded complaint about equal pay in the textile industry.

We watched “People’s century part 22 1970 – Half of the people” highly recommended video.

We take for granted the rights that women had to fight for.

Below is a non exhaustive chronologic list of withdrawal of women’s powers. Some have been rectified. Some are still being fought for at large. It seems to follow a pattern. Do not give women education, jobs or decent pay. Remove rights and ideas from their brains. So they can carry on ruling our lives. I say FIGHT BACK the old dinosaurs.

1500s women worked as spinners, milliners,  tailors,  dyers,  shoemakers,  washer women and brewing beer, as water was not safe to drink

Girls can marry as young as 12 y.o. Betrothals (formal engagement to be married, engagement) can be agreed for children aged 7, but marriage expected at puberty

1653 marriage 16 y.o. for a man, 14 y.o. for a woman

1660 marriage consent 14 y.o. man, 12 y.o. for bride

14 y.o. for boys, 12 y.o. for girls in the Republic of Ireland until 1st January 1975 – then raised to 16 y.o.

1665 Plague in London

1666 Great fire of London

1700 forbidding women from working and stupid marriage rules

1750 women flocking to cities as Spinters

1800s Import of cheap food, wheat and beginning of tinned goods

1803 ABORTION made illegal

1832 voting paper changed from PERSON to MALE PERSON.

1840 Judge upholds a man’s right to lock up his wife and bear her in moderation

1844 women and children banned from underground mining

1857 Marriage and Divorce Act: expensive divorce becomes available. Men: based on wive’s adultery. Women: If a husband’s adultery is combined with incest, sodomy, cruelty, etc

1861 Offence Against the Persons act. Abortion penalty: from execution to life imprisonment

1861 Age of consent 12, carnal knowledge of a girl under 10 a felony, from 10-12 a misdemeanour

1877 Bradlaugh-Besant trial for obscenity – publishing a book containing contraceptive advice

1886 Match girls strike for better working conditions, they had deformed jaws, 200 walked out and spoke to Annie Besant who wrote about them

1888 First equal pay motions to TUC

25.03.1911 ‘Triangle fire’ in NYC 140 Italian and Jewish working women – working conditions


Marriage bar: edge women out of employment unless under exceptional circumstances


1920 Marriage bar introduced in civil service and teaching

1930 Post war peak divorce

1932 BBC and civil service introduces marriage bar

1960 Men die faster, stress, alcohol and smoking.

1970 woman wanted to be a bus driver and rent a flat by herself



1770 Hargreave’s Spinning Jenny patented a quicker method of spinning to keep up with weavers by multiplying the number of spindles. Larger water-powered, then steam-powered one produced for factories

1870 Medical views on sexuality begin to replace religious views

1872 Hospital for Women opened in London.

1874 Foundation of the London School of Medicine for Women

1944 Women teachers marriage bar abolished

1945 BBC and Civil Service marriage bar abolished

1948 Women are admitted to ALL medical schools

1953 Equal pay for teachers, civil servants and local government officers

1960 Birth control pill becomes widely available. This means there is finally equality in sexual freedom. Women had a sexual liberation, you can plan your career with contraceptives

1968 850 women sewing machinists strike for equal pay at Ford’s, Dagenham as they are underpaid by 20%

1969 Divorce reform Concept of ‘guilty part’ abandoned in UK. 1976 Scotland, 1979 N.Ireland

1970 Crypto-servant class recognition. Women at home are not idle.

1990 Work-life balance recognised by employers

1991 rape in marriage becomes illegal

1992 recognising bullying as a workplace stress

1995 Disability Discrimination Act

1996 Employment Rights Act – right not to be dismissed on ground of being pregnant

1997 Protection from Harassment Act

1998 Human Rights Act

1998 Working Time regulations – right to 4 weeks leave

1999 Maternity and Paternity parental leave regulations

2000 Freedom of information act – giving everyone the right to access information held by public authorities, subject to a few with exceptions – effective from 2005

2002 Government signs up to European Charter, limit on working hours, improves maternity leave and working conditions for part and temporary workers

2004 Civil Partnership Act – same sex couple

2006 Employment Equality Regulations

2006 Smoking ban

2010 to present Universal credit, Bedroom Tax, Red tape challenge, Granny tax, Pasty tax, Universities £9000 charge, removal of education grants

2010 Marriage legal – same sex couple

2015 Angela Rayner became an MP by starting in the Union

90s Europe expands from 15 to 27 European countries, freedom to travel, live and work.



Women were called to work on World War II. On their return, they were pushed back to the unpaid housework chores.

Alice Ball found leprosy solution and was not acknowledged

Female journalist training men

Fired at 32 as air hostess

Crane driver told no one would employ her, despite being able to do the job

Own father said ‘You cannot be a pilot’

You cannot lift 30 pounds

You could only be a phone operator, nothing else in 1949



Africa, from 4-12 y.o. female circumcision, even grandmother says she will act on it, despite law forbidding it

China’s belief: boy = big happiness,  girl = small happiness – lots of missing girls

Mexico fighting for pavements, basic services 1994

1936 women’s veils off in Iran BUT in 1979 after exile, he commanded veil back and women did. They didn’t want to tempt men, but be the pearl in the shell. They think women should develop from inside.



Double birding, work and clean

Hiding contraceptive pills to avoid being pregnant when not wanted

Patronising ads, called the weaker sex still to this day

2 women die of violence in UK. 173 a week in Russia



Indian women killed as family could not provide money

Cradley Heath chain makers – having babies AT WORK as they didn’t want to lose their jobs

Voting was only for over 30 y.o.

From 1500s to 1750s middle class women’s education shift from accounting, housekeeping and the classics to accomplishments such as music, arts, etc.



Educate next generation

There were 1/2 penny banks, affordable loans to women

You could be the doctor, not the nurse

You could be the senator, not the secretary

Other countries follow feminism after seeing other’s examples



Elizabeth Garreth Anderson wanted to be a doctor. She went to France to learn French and qualify as a doctor.

They wouldn’t recognise her credentials in UK so she opened a Women’s only hospital in 1872

Caroline Norton married George Norton reluctantly, because of her family’s financial predicament. She was the victim of regular and vicious beatings. He took their children to Scotland to escape the law and she used her writing skills to influence the Infant Custody Bill of 1839 and Marriage and Divorce Act of 1857.

Emmeline Pankhurst, demonstrations with window smashing, arson of the suffragettes.

When arrested, they were under hunger strike, resulting in violent force-feeding. The government passed the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act. Hunger striking prisoners were released until they grew strong again, then re-arrested.



You made your bed, you lie in it

Spinster derogatory meaning: an unmarried woman, typically an older woman beyond the usual age for marriage.



Some women seeking violence protection

Some women seeking basic education



1846 Mary Ann Evans salaried journalist

1963 in space

1970 Train driver, bullying and pornography

1970 Annie Nightingale, DJ on Radio 1

1976 Mary Joy Langdon,  fire fighter

1979 Margaret Thatcher, UK Prime Minister

Also in racing, presidency, bullfighting, pilot


Unison has 1.3 million members

1 million are women = 78% 100k are from the South East