The Women’s History Network Annual Conference

The annual WHN conference is held each year in late August or early September. It  aims to bring together anyone interested in women’s history; for many of our members the conference is the highlight of belonging to the network.

The Conference is a friendly and welcoming event, providing an exciting forum where people from the UK and beyond can meet and share research and interests.

Each year well-known historians give plenary speakers and we hold a reception at which the WHN prizes are awarded.  There are some bursaries available to enable postgraduate students or those on a low income to attend.

To get a sense of what attending one of our conferences is like, take a look at the short film we had made of our 2017 Conference in Birmingham

Save the Date: This Year’s Conference


Professional Women:
the public, the private, and the political

2019 marks the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act in Britain, which opened all ‘civil professions or vocations’, including the civil service and legal profession, to women. It was a significant landmark – but neither a beginning or an end – in the history of professional women.

This conference will explore not only the significance of the 1919 Act, but also the ‘professional woman’ in all periods, nations and forms. She is found far beyond ‘the professions’, in fields ranging from agriculture to industry, from education to the arts. She …

Previous Conferences

2018 Conference – The Campaign for Women’s Suffrage : National and International Perspectives

In 2018 our conference was held beside the sea at the University of Portsmouth. There was a wonderful range of speakers from UK and beyond, some of the highlights included Barbara Caine from the University of Sydney discussing Feminist Autobiography and the Creation of the Self and Eric Franklin from the University of Basel, Switzerland telling us about Hugh Franklin: Champion of Women’s Suffrage.  Saturday morning stated with a fascinating keynote on by the WHN treasurer Sumita Mukherjee of the University of Bristol on Indian Suffrage Campaigners and International Suffrage Networks in the Interwar Period. In the centenary  of some …

2017 Conference – Women and the Wider World

The University of Birmingham hosted the 2017 WHN conference, entitled ’Women and the Wider World’. For those delegates who arrived early enough on Thursday night, a heritage walking tour of campus was provided. For those arriving at the University Station a little later, a slow stroll to the accommodation offered a sample of the picturesque campus.  Over the two days, discussions focussed on women’s presence in the wider world and also their interconnectedness, networks and friendships. We learnt from Penny Tinkler that the interwar magazine Miss Modern encouraged friendships, whilst those discussing women Quakers expressed the importance of networks to …

2016 Conference – Women’s Material Cultures / Women’s Material Enviroments

On 16 and 17 September, Leeds Trinity University hosted the 25th annual Women’s History Network conference, consisting of two keynotes, two illustrated talks, and nineteen panels and a total of fifty-one papers. The papers and presentations explored innovative and diverse research, projects and collections about women’s material cultures and environments from the medieval period to the twenty-first century.  After a welcome address by Prof. Margaret House, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University, day one started with the first paper panels. Dr Helen Kingstone chaired the ‘Political Object[ion]s’ panel and enjoyed ‘Rosanne Waine’s beautifully illustrated paper [that] brought to life the …

2015 Conference – Female Agency, activism and organization

This year’s Women’s History Network Conference on the theme of Female Agency, Activism and Organisation took place at the University of Kent in Canterbury. The conference drew in researchers from Australia to Canada, and from Italy to the UK, covering topics from science and medicine to religion and education, to name just a few. In addition to the thought-provoking sessions, the highlight of each day was the Plenary Lectures. Over the course of the weekend there were three plenary lectures, all touching on very different aspects of women’s history. On Friday, Professor Mary Evans discussed woman and poverty in her …

2014 Conference – Home Fronts: Gender, War and Conflict September

We were at the University of Worcester for our conference in 2014.  In the opening remarks of illuminating keynote. which focussed on the home front in a Derbyshire village, Karen Hunt light-heartedly touched on the plethora of First World War commemorations. They were everywhere, she reflected, but this should not make us immune to the many important aspects of the conflict that were still open for debate, particularly on the home front. The diversity of experiences in time and place that she then explored exemplified the extraordinary range of topics and themes that were evident at this year’s conference, from …