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Feminism and imperialism, 1860-1914


The Young Women's Christian AssociationLink opens in a new window was an international organisation and involved with missionary work in countries within and beyond the British Empire. The YWCA archives include minutes and publications relating to their work outside the UK - journals such as 'Our Own Gazette'Link opens in a new window are a good place to start to get an overview of the work and attitudes of the organisation.

A small number of publications relating to women and Empire are also included in other archive collections, several of which are identified below.

= This symbol after a link means that it links to digitised copies of the documents.

Selected sources:

'Prayer Union Paper', 1879Link opens in a new window

Bulletin issued by the Indian Female Normal School and Instruction Society. It includes religious teaching and requests for prayer on behalf of individual Indian women connected with the schools.

Leaflet advertising the 'Indian Female Evangelist', 1880Link opens in a new window

The proposed journal was to be produced by the Indian Female Normal School and Instruction Society. It was written with the intention of promoting the work of the Society to a British audience.

'Women's Employment', vol.12, no.21, 15 November 1912Link opens in a new window

A "paper dealing with the Professions and Employments of Educated Women", issued by the Central Bureau for the Employment of Women. This issue includes articles on openings for educated women in IndiaLink opens in a new window and life as a social worker in the Women's University Settlement; a list of the women candidates elected in the Town and Metropolitan Borough Council elections; information about educational opportunities (including lists of courses); and advertisements for jobs deemed suitable for a woman with an education or of a certain social class.

'Our Indian sisters', 1914Link opens in a new window

Pamphlet by the feminist Frances Swiney, issued by The League of Isis. Swiney was born in India in 1847, the daughter of a British soldier, and married John Swiney, an Irish army officer, in 1871. She was a co-founder of the Cheltenham Women's Suffrage Society in 1896, and was involved with a range of other progressive societies.

This pamphlet attacks the role of the Imperial army in India, particularly the keeping of officially approved brothels, and accuses the Christian rulers of hypocrisy and the encouragement of vice and degradation of women. It also comments on the treatment of girls and women in India by Indians and the British authorities, and the portrayal of women in religion.


Article 'Through Difficult Doors'

One of a series of articles by journalist Mary Frances Billington on her journey through South Asia, published in 'Our Own Gazette'Link opens in a new window, 1896. Billington was one of the founders of the Society for Women Journalists and, according to this article, the first Englishwoman to travel to the Malakand Pass.