‘British Women Aliens in their Own Country’

I’ve been thinking more about the ‘Nationality of Married Women’ issue and talking it through with colleagues and we were all so shocked by the complete lack of free will and choice which women had over their own citizenship.  It was great to work through these files and find that all the campaigns to give women the same rights as men were successful and as I said in the last post the amendments to the law in 1948 gave women the right to retain their British nationality upon marriage to a non-British citizen.  I’ve included one of the campaign handbills produced by the ‘Nationality of Married Women – Pass the Bill Committee’ below which gives a handy timeline of the developments and various attempts to have the Act amended.

NUWT Collection ref. UWT/D/216/1 ©Institute of Education

Sadly, the recent controversy in the news over Theresa May’s ridiculous and ill-thought remarks on immigration and the Human Rights Act really brought home to me, no matter the number of cases where it might be used for the ‘wrong’ purposes, there are many more cases where families and individuals lives are torn apart and their fate removed from their own hands.  Cataloguing a collection that spans so many issues of human rights and equality from the 1920s to the 1960s is really bringing home to me that although there have of course been so many advances there are still so many things that haven’t changed and the same arguments and issues come round again and again.


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