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Bradford to name streets after women to tackle gender imbalance

image copyrightBradford Council
image captionTrade unionist Julia Varley will be recognised by Bradford Council's campaign

More streets and public spaces in Bradford are to be named after women in a move to recognise female achievement.

The Pioneering Bradford Lasses campaign aims to acknowledge and promote the important role of women in the city's history.

The council campaign aims to "further improve the gender balance around the Bradford district when it comes to publicly honouring historical figures".

The first step will be to name a new street after a local suffragette.

The development, on the corner of Green Lane and Lumb Lane, will be named Lillian Armitage Close.

Ms Armitage, who was born in 1885, campaigned for women's right to vote and was briefly imprisoned.

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She was part of a group who attempted to enter the House of Commons and was imprisoned for 14 days as a result.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby said: "I work in City Hall most days and while there are rightly many pictures of the old industrialists and alderman who helped shape our district, these are, by and large, male figures.

"We hope to inspire young women across the district to go on and make their own history."

Bradford's historic women

image copyrightBradford Museums and Galleries
image captionMargaret Wintringham was the first female Liberal MP elected to the House of Commons

Julia Varley OBE

Julia Varley, who was born in 1871, became branch secretary of the Bradford Weavers' and Textile Workers' Union when she was 15.

During World War One she travelled the country to ensure women who had taken on men's jobs were given fair pay and working conditions.

Florence White

Florence White, who was born in 1886, was a political activist in Bradford.

Ms White founded The National Spinsters' Pensions Association, which led to pensions being given to all women when they turned 60.

Margaret Wintringham

In 1921 Margaret Wintringham became the first female Liberal MP and the third woman elected to the House of Commons, when at the age of 42 she succeeded her late husband as MP for Louth in Lincolnshire.

She campaigned for women to be able to vote at the same age as men and for equal pay for women.

It is not the first time street names have been highlighted as symbols of historical sexism.

In 2012 research by Maria Pira Ercolini, a geography teacher in Rome, found 7,575 (45.7%) of the city's streets were named after men and just 580 (3.5%) were named after women.

Ms Ercolini said: "During the research I realised that you never see traces of women. History just cancelled the women."

image captionAuthor JB Priestley is an example of a man who has previously been recognised by the city

Bradford Council plans to name several more streets and public buildings after women in the near future.

Lauren Padgett, assistant curator of social history at Bradford Museums, said: "It is great to be emphasising the contribution past Bradford women made by literally putting them on the map."

This article was created as part of We Are Bradford - a BBC project with the people of the city to tell the stories which matter to them.

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Related Topics

  • Women
  • Sexism
  • Bradford

More on this story

  • Are our street names sexist?