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Women & Activism

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave women in the UK the right to vote for the first time.  However, there were limitations. Only those over 30 who met a property qualification were granted this right. It wasn’t until the Equal Franchise Act was passed in 1928 that women won the same voting rights as men.

Find out more about the fight for representation, and women’s history from the late 19th century to today, through an inspiring programme of courses, talks and special events at Bishopsgate Institute.

SYLVIA PANKHURST AND THE SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT IN EAST LONDON 

with Katherine Connelly


Katherine Connelly uncovers the inspiring stories of Sylvia Pankhurst and the East London Federation of the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Wednesday 7 February | 19.00 – 20.00    £7 / £5 concession

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UNTOLD LIVES – 100 YEARS OF WOMEN’S HISTORY (1880s-1970s) 

with Dr Michelle Johansen

This course introduces forgotten women from our archives through original ‘herstorical’ materials, such as Victorian pamphlets, First World War letters and 1960s activist ephemera.

Tuesdays 27 February – 27 March | 18.30 – 20.00    £71 / £53 concession

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ARCHIVES TOUR - WOMEN’S AND FEMINIST HISTORY TOUR 

with Nicky Hilton

Explore women’s history from the nineteenth century onwards, as shown in the Bishopsgate Institute Special Collections and Archives.

Thursday 8 March | 18.30 – 19.30     £7 / £5 concession

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PARIS LEES IN CONVERSATION WITH PHYLL OPOKU-GYIMAH 

Paris Lees, journalist, campaigner and presenter, and Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, cofounder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride, share their stories of campaigning for representation, explore activism across the last 50 years, and discuss what issues continue to need conversation and representation in 2018.

Tuesday 13 March | 19.00 – 20.30    £7 / £5 concession

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THE FIGHT FOR REPRESENTATION (1819-1918) COURSE 

with Dr Michelle Johansen

To mark 100 years since women first got the vote, this archives course introduces the longer history of the suffrage question.

Saturday 17 March | 11.00 – 16.00     £52 / £39 concession

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WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT: 100 YEARS ON

Chaired by Fatima Manji

100 years after the act of Parliament which enabled women to stand for election to the House of Commons, this panel discussion explores female representation in Parliament now. Chaired by Fatima Manji, Channel 4 News Correspondent, with panellists including Dawn Butler MP, and Catherine Mayer, Co-Founder of the Women’s Equality Party.

 

Thursday 22 March | 19:00-20:30    £9 / £7 concessions

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SISTER SOLIDARITY: WRITING AND RECORDING WOMEN’S HISTORIES


Hear from speakers about the importance of recording and sharing women’s histories, and browse inspirational materials that document the activism of women in the last 50 years through a special, pop-up display.

Wednesday 28 March | 19.00 – 21.00    Free, just drop in

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About our Feminist and Women's History Collections

Bishopsgate Library holds a variety of collections relating to feminist and women’s history. These include ephemera from protests and campaigns, papers of pioneering individuals, and records of women’s organisations.

The collections are based around the Feminist Library Pamphlet collection which was donated to the Institute in 2009. From lack of public toilets in London to female genital mutilation in Africa, the pamphlet collection provides an exciting and comprehensive view of the Women’s Liberation Movement and is an invaluable resource for researchers. The Library has grown it's holdings on feminist and women's history substantially since receiving the pamphlet collection and actively collects in this area.

For researchers was a specific interest in women's history it is worth noting that although the Feminist Library Pamphlet Collection was the Institute’s first explicitly ‘feminist’ accession, the Library has been collecting records of women’s participation in the public life since the early twentieth century. These archives fit clearly into our other collecting areas and are categorised on these webpages as such. They include Brookfield Manor Girls ClubCaroline GanleyDiane Munday, Focus E15, Gilda O’NeilHilda KeanJoyce ButlerMavis MiddletonMuriel LesterNational Union of Teachers Photographic ArchiveNoreen BransonSue KingVelvet Fist and  the Women’s Co-operative Guild.