The 8th March marks one of the most powerful and inspirational days of the year for women all around the world, as we celebrate International Women’s Day. Originating over 100 years ago, in 1909, International Women’s Day represents the movement for women’s rights.
It’s an incredibly influential and aspiring day for women, and around 28 countries even class it as an official holiday. So, to celebrate such a compelling day, take a look at our top three most influential women in Preston history.
Dick Kerr’s Ladies F.C
Although we are mentioning a team of women, Dick Kerr’s Ladies F.C certainly deserve to be on the list. The women of the football team are arguably some of the most influential figures of Preston’s history.
In a time women were expected to be in the kitchens of their homes, each player boldly took to the pitch, becoming one of the earliest women’s association football teams in England.
In 1920, the team made history playing the first international women’s association football again defeating a French team 2-0 in front of 25,000 people.
The team had formed during World War 1 for the company Dick, Kerr & Co. Players had joined the company in 1914 while helping to produce ammunition for the war.
The ladies of the team were allowed to play football with the thought competitive activities would boost morale and aid production. If only the team could see how far women’s football had come today.
Born on 30th November 1868, Angela Brazil is famous for being one of the first British writers of ‘modern schoolgirls’ stories’. Her stories are written from the characters’ point of view, intended for entertainment instead of moral instruction.
A hugely successful writer, she published nearly 50 books of girls’ fiction in the first half of the 20th century. Magazines also published numerous of her short stories. Angela made a huge impact to the contribution of fiction during her lifetime.
Her stories presented a young female point of view that was active, aware of current situations and strongly independent. Angela Brazil is continuously held to be largely responsible for establishing the girls’ school story genre. Her ideas have inspired many imitators and successors, including J.K Rowling’s hugely famous Harry Potter series which draws upon the English public school education.
Angela died at the age of 78 in 1947, and remains a hugely influential woman.
We cannot write a list of Preston’s most influential women without mentioning Edith Rigby. Born on the 18th October 1872, Edith spent her life fighting for women’s rights, and successfully doing so. At the age of 35, she formed Preston’s branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).
A proud suffragette and activist, Edith spent a month in prison with other famous suffragettes, for participating in a march to the Houses of Parliament. This didn’t stop her from pushing for female equality. Later in life she founded a school in Preston called St. Peter’s School, aimed at educating women and girls.
Edith Rigby died in1948, and is greatly remembered as one of Preston’s most influential women in history. She lived in Winckley Square for the majority of her life.