Tag Archives: women’s history

The changing role of woman in 20th-century Britain

The changing role of woman in 20th-century Britain

Perhaps the most dramatic improvement in Britain’s way of life in the 20th century was the change in the place of women in the nation’s working life. The foundations for this change, which only reached a climax later in the century, were gradually laid in the decades before World War II.

Anti-suffragette postcards

Anti-suffragette postcards

In these days on telephone, email, text, Facebook or Twitter, it is salutary to remember that in early 20th-century Britain the picture  postcard was one of the cheapest and most accessible forms of communication. Over 600m postcards were posted in 1904, rising to over a staggering 900m in 1913.

Punishment of women

Punishment of women

For women there were punishments designed to humiliate as well as to hurt. The scold’s bridle took many appearances but in essence each was the same – a metal cage to clamp around the head with a built-in gag. Included  in the design of some was a bell which rang when the ‘scold’ was paraded around the town. Of course, in the streets she was subjected to the jeers of the crowd.

Infanticide in Victorian Ireland

Infanticide in Victorian Ireland

New research is revealing for the first time the degree to which poverty, famine and shame drove thousands of Irish women to commit infanticide in the 19th century. Irish historian Elaine Farrel has identified over 4,600 cases of suspected infanticide between 1850 and 1900. Farrell’s findings are significant because they correct widely held views – originating in the 19th century but reinforced by historians as late as 1970s – the infanticide was either non-existent or extremely rare in Victorian Ireland.