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The British Federation of University Women, (today known as the British Federation of Women Graduates), was founded in 1907 to bring University women together. The following year, a Liverpool Association was formed by Eleanor Rathbone and other local ladies.
Members worked for women in the city. Mrs Nan Mackean, former Honorary Secretary of the Association explained –
“They raised money for beds in the new Women’s Hospital, campaigned for women to serve in the Police Force, and battled bravely against the introduction of the marriage bar for university women staff, which meant that if women married, they were automatically dismissed from their posts and were unable to continue with their careers. During the 1930s, and in wartime, members welcomed European women who were refugees fleeing from the Nazis, giving them hospitality while they waited for a passage to the USA, and providing them with clothes and money for the journey”.
Today we have a guest blog from Susan Bennett, who has been researching Victorian brothels to explore the ‘little hell’ underworld in the late C19th as part of the Galkoff’s and Secret Life of Pembroke Place project. This is a difficult subject, and original Victorian documents and records can be very blunt!
“Between 1837 and 1901 Liverpool expanded massively to become one of the greatest ports in the world. Every day thousands of sailors, just paid off, eager for physical outlets after hard months at sea, poured onto the streets looking for women, drink and other vicious practices such as fist fighting and gambling – the Social Evil! An east wind could carry off between 10 – 15,000 sailors a day on ships from the port and a westerly wind cast that same number ashore with full pockets and much energy, “to do what men do naturally”, as a newspaper report gamely put it. The police force, newly recreated in 1836 with 390 men rising to a peak of 1,002 in 1859, struggled desperately to keep on top of the ensuing vice, violence, and crime. Read more…
This Black History Month we are celebrating diverse voices from Liverpool’s Black community. This final blog in our series commemorates the pioneering work of the Liverpool Black Sisters.
“The biggest legacy of Liverpool Black Sisters is the impact made to the lives of the women and families who gained support, advice or guidance in order to access opportunities not afforded to them in the 70s and 80s, and who were able to gain a better perspective of their contribution to the city and the Black community. Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre is a community building that was the vision of the Sisters, that has turned into their reality”
Michelle Charters, CEO of Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre and former member of Liverpool Black Sisters, speaking in 2018.
Liverpool Black Sisters were a Black women’s group, based in L8 who worked to improve the lives of women in their community. Read more…
5 July 2018 by Kay
Nothing quite brings home the horror of force-feeding than seeing the actual equipment; porcelain funnel, wooden mouth gag and long rubber tube, used to inflict torture on women. This set is even more disturbing to me as it was used at Walton Gaol, Liverpool.
21 May 2018 by Kay
You many have seen recently that this statue of suffrage campaigner Millicent Fawcett was unveiled in Parliament Square, London; the first statue of a woman in the Square.
The statue helps highlight her life’s work of campaigning to get women the vote. One of her other legacies is The Fawcett Society, the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights.
A local branch, Fawcett Society Merseyside was launched on 8 March 2018 (International Women’s Day). One of the group’s aims is to promote our local suffrage history and they are using History Pin to showcase the Merseyside Suffrage Movement, as well as document the local groups’ key events and achievements. Read more…
6 March 2018 by Laura
National Museums Liverpool is marking International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March) with a programme of free exhibitions and events on the day and the following weekend (Saturday 10 and 11 March).
Through exhibitions, talks, workshops and poetry there are a variety of ways for everyone to get involved and celebrate this important date.
5 March 2018 by Matt
This week we are celebrating International Women’s Day at the Museum of Liverpool. We are proud to say that we will be delivering an event on 10 March with the local Women’s Institute. Claire from the WI tells us more –
“To celebrate International Women’s Day and the centenary of the passing of the Representation of the People Act, Central Liverbirds Women’s Institute will be hosting a stand in the museum on Saturday 10 March from 1pm to 4pm. We will be giving short talks on four inspirational women who have impacted the lives of women on Liverpool and nationwide, as well as inviting people to meet our members and learn about our organisation and our local group.
We will be wearing period clothes while delivering our short talks on the four pioneering women: Mary Bamber, Bessie Braddock, Eleanor Rathbone and Kitty Wilkinson. All four women have strong links to Liverpool, and all individually and actively campaigned for women’s rights.
As members of the Women’s Institute, itself an organisation set up to help women in 1915 during the First World War, we think this a fabulous opportunity to link the work the WI has done over the years to celebrations of women gaining the vote and International Women’s Day. From the very beginning through its government sponsorship the WI helped to educate women in rural areas, helping them grow and preserve food to boost food supplies for the nation during the war. Our organisation has developed considerably over the years but education and skill sharing are at its heart as well as campaigning for issues that concern our members.
To be engaged in these activities on 10 March is a privilege and as a group which seeks to improve the lives of women all over the world we recognise the importance of the occasion. We are delighted to share in the celebrations of these important dates, and the milestones in women’s rights. Most of all we look forward to sharing the lives of these very special women with their strong links to Liverpool and whose impact is still felt in our lives today.”
2018 marks 100 years since the passing of the Representation of the People Act. After a long hard fight, some women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote for the first time. The Act also granted men over the age of 21 the vote. It would be another 10 years until this was equalised for women over the age of 21 in 1928.
The campaign in Liverpool saw both militant and peaceful tactics employed to win the basic right to vote. Women were jailed and force fed in Walton Gaol, bombs were planted around the city and windows smashed. Read more…
31 January 2018 by Kay
Our final blog post in the run up to our exciting OUTing the Past: The 4th National Festival of LGBT History conference, 3 February, is from Hilary McCollum.
Hilary is a feminist activist, writer and campaigner from northwest Ireland. She will be presenting, ‘Sapphic Suffragettes: The key role of lesbians in the fight for Votes for Women’. Read more…