Women Speakers and Deputy Speakers

As we have seen in some of our previous blogs, the role of Speaker of the House has a long history, but it wasn’t until the late 20th century that women took to the Speaker’s Chair. Through the History of Parliament Oral History Project we have been able to interview some of the female former MPs who occupied the roles of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, … Continue reading Women Speakers and Deputy Speakers

‘Decided on by men’: International Women’s Day lecture

On 17 March Dr Emma Peplow and Dr Priscila Pivatto gave the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art’s 8th annual International Woman’s Day lecture. Created by the committee to help address the need for more artwork of female MPs in Parliament’s collection, Emma and Priscila discussed women’s experiences in Parliament based on interviews in our Oral History Project. Here Dr Peplow reflects on the … Continue reading ‘Decided on by men’: International Women’s Day lecture

Elizabeth I, the ‘estate of marriage’, and the 1559 Parliament

To mark Women’s History Month, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of our Lords 1558-1603 section, recalls the first public statement by the ‘Virgin Queen’ that she had no plans to marry, and the incomprehension with which her (male) subjects reacted… The first Parliament summoned by Elizabeth I opened on 25 January 1559 with a packed agenda. Urgent business in the opening days included a new … Continue reading Elizabeth I, the ‘estate of marriage’, and the 1559 Parliament

‘You’d better accept you’ll have to concentrate on domestic politics for now’ – gender bias in the post-war Commons

As Women’s History Month reaches a close, Dr Emma Peplow, lead coordinator of our Oral History Project, looks back through our interview archive to explore a theme often discussed by female interviewees: gender bias in the post-war House of Commons… For many of the former female MPs interviewed for our oral history project, their experiences in Parliament seem to be both as insiders and outsiders … Continue reading ‘You’d better accept you’ll have to concentrate on domestic politics for now’ – gender bias in the post-war Commons

The Princess Mother: Augusta, Princess of Wales, the power behind the throne?

Today, on International Women’s Day, Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, looks at the life of Augusta, Princess of Wales. As mother of the heir to the throne, Augusta had great political importance- but how did she use this to her advantage…? In March 1771 James Townsend spoke in the Commons of his concerns of secret influence behind the throne. He insisted … Continue reading The Princess Mother: Augusta, Princess of Wales, the power behind the throne?

Ellen Wilkinson’s search for social justice in 1936

As #WomensHistoryMonth draws to a close we hear from guest blogger Laura Beers, Associate Professor of History at American University, about the subject of her latest book, Ellen Wilkinson. In this piece Laura discusses a significant year in Ellen’s career, 1936, as an example of her quest for social justice… In 1940, when Ellen Wilkinson was appointed as parliamentary secretary to the minister of pensions, … Continue reading Ellen Wilkinson’s search for social justice in 1936