Women’s traditional roles of wife and home maker were embedded in social attitudes and ideologies and their participation and contribution to the national economy largely went unrecognised. Many factory acts, legislation and policies regulated female labour and promoted the male breadwinner ideal. Women’s wages are taxed, but they had no say in how their taxes were spent, how the country was run or even in their own rights. Women were directly impacted by regulations, policies and legislation with little say and influence.
The contribution of women workers to the family, local and national economy and the textile industry was considerable. Many women worked both in the factory and at home, bringing in a wage and caring for the family. Despite women having worked in the textile trade for over 200 years, women weren’t truly recognised for their contribution to the industry. The emphasis was primarily on their roles as wives and mothers and their occupation was not seen as a centrally defining characteristic of their lives.
This display looks at the working lives of women in the textile industry, they're involvement in politics and trade unions and how working women fought for change.
2018 marks 100 years since Parliament passed a law which allowed some women and all men to vote for the first time: the 1918 Representation of the People Act. Throughout the year we are celebrating this important milestone in the UK's democratic history.
A series of exhibitions, displays and events are taking place across our museums including Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford Industrial Museum and Cliffe Castle Museum, to engage the public with Bradford's museum collections and for the struggle for the vote.
Entry is free. Donation boxes can be found around the sites and donations are always welcome.