History GCSE / National 5: How women fought for access to birth control in Britain

Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney traces the history of the women’s movement in Britain and discovers how women fought for access to birth control.

Childbirth in Victorian times was dangerous and difficult. Victorian families were large and reliable contraception was not available.

Marie Stopes believed that married women had a right to birth control. In 1921 the first birth control clinic in Britain was opened.

In 1961 the contraceptive pill was introduced. Illegal back street abortions were a leading cause of maternal death.

The 1967 Abortion Act made abortion legal and abortion still remains a controversial issue.

Teacher Notes

Students could divide into groups of four, with each of them producing a mini-presentation on one of the following topics: 'Why did women want birth control?', 'Marie Stopes', 'The pill' and 'Abortion'.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History. This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC, Eduqas, KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

Women in politics and how suffragettes won women the vote,
How women have campaigned for social and sexual equality
How women have fought for equality in the workplace