Libraries and archives

Women's history

Several collections relate to women’s history and women’s rights in Liverpool and give an insight into the changing roles and expectations of women.

The Merseyside Women’s Liberation Movement (reference 305 WLM) documents the movement from 1960-2002, while other collections demonstrate the promotion of women’s rights, work life, healthcare and childcare.

  • Women working in a factory in the 1900s

Collections demonstrating the changing situations of women in Merseyside include The Liverpool Rescue Society and House of Help (reference 362 HOU) that opened in 1890 to provide shelter for women and girls who had ‘fallen into sin and to those hovering on the brink of ruin’. There was also the Liverpool branch of the Vigilance Association (reference M326 VIG) which was originally set up in 1908 to meet and help women and girls travelling through Liverpool who were vulnerable to exploitation. Women’s roles in various professions are evident with records for women in teaching, nursing and the police.

The Women's Health in Liverpool collection (reference 613 GAR) demonstrates the endeavours for improvement in the provision of adequate healthcare for women both locally and nationally. The collection contains articles, correspondence and press cuttings of Dr Katy Gardner, a GP working 1970s -1990s in Liverpool 8 who was an active feminist and socialist.

Women’s History - Women’s Lives (reference 305 WHL) was a course run by Liverpool Community College that began by looking at the lives of working class women. The Merseyside Equal Opportunities Project 1981-1986 (reference M351 EOP) collection demonstrates promotion of equal opportunities at work for women.

Merseyside Women’s Liberation (reference 305 WLM) gives an excellent timeline and picture of some of the Women’s Liberation Movement activities in Merseyside and includes early minutes, newsletters and campaign material.

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