Women’s History

Victorian Penal Institutions for Juvenile Females and Mary Carpenter, by Tahaney Alghrani

In our latest post Tahaney Alghrani reflects on crime, gender and ‘reform’ in Victorian port cities.

In recent months, youth knife crime has been much debated in the British press. These debates, however, are not new.  Just as today there are conflicting views on how we should address youth crime, this was also a central debate in the nineteenth century. Reformatory and Industrial schools, the first penal institutions for juvenile offenders, were established in 1855 to remove youths from their criminal associations and ‘at risk’ environments in order to reform them and train them within industry. Recent research by Barry …

Gender, Family, and Politics: The Howard Women, 1485-1558 – Dr. Nicola Clark

In this fascinating post Dr. Clark tells us about her important new monograph: Gender, Family, and Politics: The Howard Women, 1485-1558 (OUP, 2018).

The Howard family, Dukes of Norfolk, were the family most entwined with the Tudor dynasty during the sixteenth century. The men were earl marshals, lord admirals, lord treasurers, privy councillors, the king’s jousting buddies; the women, queen consorts of England (Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard), ladies-in-waiting, the godmothers of royal children. Generally, people talk about families like the Howards exactly as I have just done – as collectives. In many ways this is logical. Political dynasties …

Representing Women – Dr Freya Gowrley

In this wonderful piece Dr. Freya Gowrley reflects on representation, fatness and body-shaming.

When asked what Women’s History Month meant to me as the prompt for writing this blog post, my mind immediately went to issues of representation. For me, the month highlights the excellent work being done to make history more inclusive by finding and reintroducing women into the historical canon, whilst unpacking the systems of oppression that have kept women from it. By identifying their previously overlooked contributions, the gendered issues affecting them, and the forms of their representation, or lack thereof, throughout history, this work is vital …

Labour Women in Power: Cabinet Ministers in the 20th century – Dr. Paula Bartley.

(L-R Margaret Bondfield, Ellen Wilkinson, Barbara Castle, Judith Hart and Shirley Williams)

In this post, Dr. Paula Bartley gives us a sneak peak of her fabulous new book: Labour Women in Power: Cabinet Ministers in the 20th century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

In 1997 Tony Blair appointed the same number of women to Cabinet positions as there had been in the rest of the century. Between 1918 and 1997, only five Labour women held this high office of state: Margaret Bondfield, Ellen Wilkinson, Barbara Castle, Judith Hart and Shirley Williams.

The five who did manage to get to these …

Celebrating ‘women’s history bookshelves’ by Dr. Jo Stanley

In this post, Dr. Jo Stanley reflects on the growing visibility of women’s history in bookshops around the globe.

This post celebrates the moment when I realised there was going to be a genre of books called ‘women’s history’ – and that it was going to be incisive, fascinating, written with gravitas and offer me/us all sorts of unexpended gendered insights. The date must have been autumn 1978. I’d gone into Sisterwite, London’s new first women’s bookshop, to see if there was anything about the history of women’s work and industrial relations.

This was my maiden visit, although I’d been …