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SHL announces new season - Rights for Women: London's Pioneers in their Own Words

SHL announces new season - Rights for Women: London's Pioneers in their Own Words

On London History Day, Senate House Library, part of the University of London, reveals it’s forthcoming free exhibition and accompanying event season ‘Rights for Women: London’s Pioneers in their Own Words’ which runs 16 July - 15 December 2018.

This free exhibition and events season focuses on some of the famous and lesser known stories of over 50 women pioneers, from the late eighteenth century to present time, that used London as their platform to make their voices heard and establish equal rights for women.

The exhibition will display the rare and precious books, letters, objects and photos in Senate House Library's collection onsite and online for the public to explore the ground-breaking work that led change in the spheres of politics, employment, education and reproductive rights.

Helen Pankhurst, author and great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, who has helped shape the exhibition and events, said: “The exhibition includes some rare photographs of my great-grandmother and some letters between her and other suffragettes alongside 50 other female pioneers from the eighteenth century onwards who used London are their platform to secure rights for women. This exhibition and related events is needed now more than ever, to build on the momentum of recent movements by this generation to achieve full equality. This is not to be missed!”


  • Exhibition features a rare edition of Millicent Fawcett’s memoir, a hand-written letter from Virginia Woolf, rare photos of Emmeline Pankhurst and WSPU paraphernalia from the suffragette archive of Molly de Morgan & the 1868 charter with 5” royal wax seal admitting the first 9 women to university in the UK
  • Events: a Women’s Parliament event debating the themes of the exhibition – in partnership with 50:50 Parliament, talks by leading women including Helen Pankhurst, Faber & Faber book lunch, London walking tours with Camden Tour Guides Association and monthly film screenings

Creating a new platform for women’s voices then, now…and in future

Senate House Library want to ensure a legacy for these pioneering women’s words and continue their hard-won victories to inspire current and future generations. To do this, part of the exhibition will feature ‘Her Story’; a collection of women’s works that have influenced contemporary leading women, such as Helen Pankhurst, Caroline Criado-Perez and Amrit Wilson, but also a digital platform to take a snapshot of contemporary women today and their thoughts on past, present and future, answering these statements:

  • The woman I most admire from history is…
  • The woman I most admire today is…
  • The women’s issue I am most concerned about today is…
  • I hope the next generation of women will be able to…

The exhibition and events are part of the University of London’s Leading Women campaign, celebrating the first nine women to be admitted to university (at the University of London), 150 years ago in 1868.

    Coming soon - opens 16 July 2018!