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The Changing Role of Women in Britain
1860 ­ 1930: Timeline
Caroline Norton
Married George Norton in 1827 (when she was 19)
They had three sons
The marriage was a disaster ­ Caroline found her husband boring and lazy and
she did not hide her feelings of this.
George responded…

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Allowed divorce to happen through law courts instead of by a private act of
parliament ­ which was slow and expensive.
For a husband to divorce his wife he had to prove: adultery
For a wife to divorce her husband she had to prove: adultery, bigamy, rape,
sodomy, bestiality, cruelty…

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1870 Education Act ­ allows women ratepayers to vote for, and serve on, the new
school boards

1873 Second Custody of Infants Act

1875 First women elected to serve on Poor Law Boards as guardians of the
There was no law preventing women from being Poor Law guardains

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1886 Married Women (Maintenance in Case of Desertion) Act

1886 Guardianship of Infants Act
Gave women more chance of gaining custody of their children.
The act stated that `when determining what parent should have custody the
welfare of the child(ren) should been taken into account'.

1886 Repeal of Contagious Diseases…


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