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Force-feeding equipment

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The force-feeding equipment is a disturbing reminder of the unequal status of British women at the beginning of the 20th century and of how some women were treated when they campaigned for equal rights. But how does female status in early twentieth-century Britain compare with the position of women in other societies at different times in history? These objects provide a useful starting point for students to investigate the status of women from different cultures across time.

Women carrying out a ritual

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Funerary cloth of Isetnefret from ancient Egypt; 1300 – 1070 BC.

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An old nurse

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Terracotta figure, possibly from Athens, Greece; about 300 BC.

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A Roman wife

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Tombstone of Volusia Faustina from Lincoln; AD 200s.

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A woman out hawking

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Ivory mirror back from France; AD 1325 – 75.

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A lady of the court

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Painting of a lady at the court of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein; England, AD 1530s.

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Woman selling souvenirs

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Painting in the Company style from northern India; around AD 1850.

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Patron goddess of women

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Ivory figure of Xiwangmu from China; Qing dynasty, probably Kangxi period (AD 1662 – 1722)

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Force-feeding equipment