December 20, 2007
Ursula Masson, lecturer in History and co-director of the Glamorgan Centre for Gender Studies in Wales, is part of a research consortium that has been awarded £65,000 by the Leverhulme Trust for an international programme of research on the Women’s Liberation Movement.
The grant of almost £65,000 will pay for the establishment of a research network over eighteen months, bringing together an inter-disciplinary group of researchers, librarians, archivists and activists with knowledge of the Women’s Liberation Movement.
The lead in the bid was taken by the Women’s Library (formerly Fawcett Collection) at London Metropolitan University. The partners are leading historians of women in the “four nations” of the UK. Six universities will be involved, with Glamorgan as the Wales representative.
“Pictured: Swansea Women’s Aid members demonstrating in support of refuges for battered women, 1976.”
The history of the women’s movement in the late twentieth century has the potential to be as exciting and vital a field as the history of the suffrage movement at the beginning of the century. The establishment of the network will be the first time a comprehensive attempt has been made to understand the WLM as an entity. The opportunity to examine the WLM comparatively across the four UK nations will enable the network to explore questions of national identity and the movement’s distinctive influence on local conditions, and its particular character in different countries.
The research network has two immediate objectives. The first is to formulate questions for future research; the second to develop a strategy for resource enhancement. Historians at the University of Glamorgan are particularly well-placed to fulfil this second objective, for a pioneering survey of materials relating to the WLM in Wales was conducted here in the late 1990s, leading to the foundation of the Women’s Archive of Wales. (Read more about the Women’s Archive of Wales and its own recent funding success with the Heritage Lottery Fund here)