Women

The role and input of women is undeniably central to human existence and to the story of human society. They are generally 50% of the population but rarely the centre of a story; women have often been pushed to the side lines for historical content. The role of women through history and the pressures and behaviours that have pushed their input aside are all explored within this theme. Powerful, influential and significant female characters are explored in detail across the time periods, including queens, and campaigners, while the stories of ordinary women are also explored through themes such as social change, war and religion.

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  • Real Lives: Tahereh (Tāhirih)

    Article

    Paula Kitching tells us of the incredible courage shown by Fatima Baraghani while campaigning for human rights, especially women’s rights in nineteenth century Persia. Fatima Baraghani lived in nineteenth century Persia and was a poet, a religious leader and a campaigner for women’s rights. She was born sometime between 1814 and 1919,...

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  • The many queens of Ancient Egypt

    Article

    Joyce Tyldesley explains the significant but often hidden roles played by queens in Ancient Egypt.   For almost 3,000 years – from the unification of the land in 3100 BC to the arrival of Alexander the Great in 332 BC – the king (or pharaoh) of Egypt served as an essential...

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  • Real Lives: Maria Rye’s emigration home for destitute little girls

    Article

    Alf Wilkinson explores the controversial story of Maria Rye, who founded the Female Emigration Society in 1861 in order to take ‘surplus’ young ladies to Australia and New Zealand to work as teachers and governesses. As there was insufficient demand for these, she refocused her work on taking pauper children...

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  • Perfect liberty and uproar: a short case study

    Article

    Edward Washington gives us a fascinating insight into life on an emigration ship – the John Knox – taking a group of orphan girls to Sydney, through a letter written after the voyage by the man charged with improving their education during the sea voyage. After his arrival in Sydney...

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  • My Favourite History Place: The Beguinage at Bruges

    Article

    Richard Stone introduces us to a quiet neighbourhood in Bruges which has played its part in the development of women’s independence.  Close to the Minnewaterpark, on the fringe of the bustling historic centre of Bruges, with its medieval buildings and atmospheric cobbled streets, the Beguinage is a tranquil haven. Cross the...

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  • The Mother of the Brontës: When Maria met Patrick

    Article

    The Mother of the Brontës, Sharon Wright, Pen and Sword, 2019, 182p, £19-99. ISBN 978-1-52673-848-6 With the three Brontë sisters having an international reputation for their creativity and with the parsonage at Haworth having become a literary shrine to their success, the question arises as to what were the ingredients...

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  • Film: Elizabeth I and Tudor Royal Authority

    Article

    In this film, Professor Sue Doran, Jesus College, University of Oxford, looks at the two main challenges to Elizabeth I's authority: gender and religion. Professor Doran looks at the power of Elizabeth's personality, her relationship with her advisers plus the significance of religion and domestics politics to shaping her reign and...

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  • Film: Mary I and Tudor Royal Authority

    Article

    In this film Dr Anna Whitelock from Royal Holloway, University of London, discusses the life of Mary I, the first crowned Queen of England. Dr Whitelock looks at Mary's difficult early life, her submission to Henry VIII and the rise of a warrior princess. Dr Whitelock explores Mary as a courageous...

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  • Real Lives: Flora Sandes

    Article

    Paula Kitching explores the story of Flora Sandes, a woman determined to make her contribution to the war effort. In 1914, Flora Sandes was 38 years of age when war was declared. She was born in Yorkshire but had lived in a number of places as her father, a rector,...

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  • British-Army camp followers in the Peninsular War

    Article

    Charles J. Esdaile throws light on a vital part of a field army that receives little study, the ‘baggage train’. The subject of the involvement of women’s involvement in warfare is one that over the past 20 years has become increasingly fashionable, and there is, therefore, a growing literature on...

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  • Women and Gender in the French Wars

    Podcast

    In this podcast Dr Louise Carter critically examines the role of women in Britain during the French Revolution. During these wars, women were typically called on for army cooking, laundry, nursing and spying, and as such were considered part of the war machine. While women in the French wars accounted for...

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  • Fair Seed-Time: Robert Evans, Francis Newdigate and the Making of George Eliot

    Article

    Fair Seed-Time: Robert Evans, Francis Newdigate and the Making of George Eliot, David Paterson, Troubadour, 2019, 306p, £12-00. ISBN 978-1-83859-146-5 ‘Fair seed-time’ is a phrase used by William Wordsworth and echoed in a comment by George Eliot when she wrote ‘these hours were seed to all my after good’. Co-incidental...

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  • Real Lives: Alice Daye: mother of the English book trade

    Article

    Our series ‘Real Lives’ seeks to put the story of the ordinary person into our great historical narrative. We are all part of the rich fabric of the communities in which we live and we are affected to greater and lesser degrees by the big events that happen on a daily...

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  • Out and About in Haworth

    Article

    Kimberley Braxton takes a tour of Brontë country, through Haworth and onto the iconic Yorkshire Moors that were central to Wuthering Heights. Haworth is a place for walkers; even before you reach the breathtaking moors it is likely your legs will already be burning from climbing the steep Yorkshire terrain....

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  • Gone with the Wind: a great book?

    Article

    HA President Tony Badger examines the historical context which shapes our understanding of Margaret Mitchell’s enduring novel. I had been a historian of the American South for 50 years and like Ringbaum, I had a secret. I had never read Gone with the Wind. As I came up to retirement...

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  • Lecture: Suffrage lives, 1866 to 1914

    Article

    When, as a researcher, I was asked to take part in the Historical Association’s Suffrage Resources project and to populate the database for it, I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t? It offered the opportunity to delve into the archives, reaching back in time to the symbolic beginnings of the organised...

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  • Literary Trails: Haworth and the Brontës

    Article

    Literary Trails: Haworth and the Brontës, Catherine Rayner and David Walford, Pen and sword History, 2018, 276p, £14-99. ISBN 9781526720856 Crossing the moors in West Yorkshire, even in mid-summer, there is a sense of being remote in what clearly at times is a challenging and bleak landscape. It is in...

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  • Elizabeth Jennings: The Inward War

    Article

    Elizabeth Jennings: The Inward War, Dana Greene, Oxford University Press, 2018, 258p, £25-00. ISBN 978-0-19-882084-0. This biography contains much detail on Elizabeth Jennings’ life and poetry. Jennings (1926-2001), born into a Roman Catholic family in Oxford, was often depressed, guilt-ridden, needy and lonely. However, for long periods of her life she...

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  • George Eliot and Warwickshire history

    Article

    David Paterson explains how George Eliot’s vivid memory of her childhood in north Warwickshire is revealed through her novels. George Eliot, born 200 years ago this year, is one of our greatest novelists, born and brought up in Warwickshire, a county in which she spent the first 30 years of...

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  • Dangerous Women of the Scottish Wars of Independence

    Article

    Kate Ash-Irisarri shows how three redoubtable women had significant roles in the difficult and dangerous period of the Scottish Wars of Independence.

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