Empowering women: fighting for rights

This session discusses the changing rights for women in the UK over the last 150+ years and investigates the continuing struggle for women's equality today.

Workshop details

Your students embark on a gallery-led tour exploring the lives of notable women activists from Liverpool in our People’s Republic gallery.  The history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement is discussed, as well as the differences between Suffragists and Suffragettes, the lives of key activists, including Liverpool activist Mary Bamber. Key changes in legislation and societal opinion are considered.

The group then explore the lives of four prominent local women through objects, documents, and images-

  • Kitty Wilkinson
  • Eleanor Rathbone
  • Bessie Braddock
  • Angela Eagle

Groups are invited to consider how the Representation of the People Act (1918) affected the lives of these women or how their lives would have been affected had they lived to see it passed.

The session closes with a considered discussion on the rights of women worldwide today and what needs to be accomplished to achieve full equality. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the session students should have increased knowledge and understanding-

  • Language – The differences between different political groups involved in the Suffrage Movement, modern and historical terms relating to women and women’s rights.
  • Law – Changes since 1918, progression, inequalities in the UK and worldwide.
  • The importance of and impact of community organisation and campaigning for equality.

The session can contribute to the development of the following skills-

  • Through participation in debates and discussions the participants will develop their communication skills.
  • Through exposure to different perspectives participants can open their minds to ‘the bigger picture’. i.e. the impact that sexism and prejudice can have on the individual/family/community/society.

The session may have an impact on attitudes and values-

  • As a result of different viewpoints presented, participants may reconsider their own views on a number of topics e.g. social inequality, women’s rights, Suffrage laws.
  • As a result of knowledge gained participants may make more informed choices about who to talk to regarding any concerns they have about sexism, prejudice, and intolerance.

Curriculum links

KS3/4 History

  • Pupils should extend and deepen their chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, so that it provides a well-informed context for wider learning.
  • They should understand how different types of historical sources are used rigorously to make historical claims and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.
  • They should use historical terms and concepts in increasingly sophisticated ways. They should pursue historically valid enquiries including some they have framed themselves, and create relevant, structured and evidentially supported accounts in response.
  • Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day .
  • Women’s suffrage.

KS3/4 English

  • Participating in formal debates and structured discussions, summarising and/or building on what has been said.
  • Giving short speeches and presentations, expressing their own ideas and keeping to the point.
  • Using Standard English confidently in a range of formal and informal contexts, including classroom discussion.
  • Speak confidently, audibly and effectively, including through:
    • using Standard English when the context and audience require it;
    • listening to and building on the contributions of others, asking questions to clarify and inform, and challenging courteously when necessary.


  • The development of the political system of democratic government in the United Kingdom, including the roles of citizens, Parliament and the monarch.
  • The operation of Parliament, including voting and elections, and the role of political parties.
  • The precious liberties enjoyed by the citizens of the United Kingdom.
  • The roles played by public institutions and voluntary groups in society, and the ways in which citizens work together to improve their communities, including opportunities to participate in school-based activities.