Women’s Community Activism in Portsmouth since 1960: The Hidden History of a Naval Town

Project Details


This HLF-funded project was set up to document the impact of women's activism in Portsmouth, a city renowned and defined by its male-dominated Dockyard and Naval bases. The project was based upon over fifty interviews of women from the Portsmouth area who made an important contribution to the history of the City. These stories are told by women from all walks of life, who have a range of interests and approaches to gender equality and local activism. Some women are ‘second wave’ feminists who campaigned at grass roots level for themselves, their families and their communities, others are women who have suffered gender discrimination in the workplace, and some are new feminists who continue to work for gender equality. Together, these interviews form a new archive of twentieth century women’s history. They reveal injustices and sex discrimination, but they also tell of courage, political intent, and a strong sense of female camaraderie. The interview recordings are held at the local library history centre archive.

In addition to the interviews, the project also produced a ‘Talking Table’ which contained excerpts from the interviews, and toured the local libraries. We held memory days at schools and community centres which encouraged further unearthing of local women’s activism. From this, a schools' leaning pack was constructed. In addition, there were a number of well-attended public lectures on the project, held both within the University and at local venues around Portsmouth.
Short titleHidden History of Feminism in Portsmouth
Effective start/end date1/08/1831/12/19


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