Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies

Using Archives to Teach Gender

Actively collecting and preserving archives of women is important for understanding the past, for rewriting history to include women, as well as to research the lives, thoughts and longings of women throughout the years and centuries.

Svanhildur Bogadóttir

If you have questions or feedback, or suggestions of material and links that could be added to the website, please email us at m.d.m.pereira@warwick.ac.uk.

All referenced quotes presented on the sidebars in this website are taken from the book Teaching Gender with Libraries and Archives: The Power of Information, edited by Sara de Jong and Sanne Koevoets.

Other Useful Resources

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There are several online archives and resources which offer an enormous amount of very rich material that can help bring to life topics relating to gender and feminism, and provide opportunities for research-led teaching and learning.

We recommend that you and your students explore the following resources:


“Sisterhood & After: An Oral History of the Women’s Liberation Movement”

“Sisterhood & After” is an online learning platform launched in 2013 by the British Library. The website contains rich oral history resources which are organised into ten themes.

Each theme includes relevant information and videos that range from short clips to longer interviews with women (and some men) activists who talk frankly and openly about their experiences in the second wave feminist movement in Britain and Northern Ireland.

The ten themes are:

Students and staff may find this resource particularly useful as visual material brings storytelling and memory to life. The activists were interviewed as part of a research project – a partnership between the British Library, University of Sussex and the Women’s Library – which took over three years to compile, with the clips being edited to make them an accessible fragment of an important social movement.

The website also features a variety of “Teacher’s Notes” for each theme which have been designed by the researchers for use with small groups. These can be downloaded free of charge. We also encourage you to visit the website’s “About” page which includes, among other things, a list of links to other very relevant oral history projects.


FRAGEN, or Frames on Gender, is an easily accessible online database of digitised core feminist texts from the second wave of feminism in the 27 EU countries, plus Croatia and Turkey. The database brings together books, articles and pamphlets that were influential in the development of feminist ideas in those 29 countries during the second half of the 20th century.

The aim of FRAGEN is to facilitate comparative research into the history of feminist thinking. It was launched in 2011, as part of the European research project QUING (Quality in Gender + Equality Politics) (FP6 Integrated project 2006-2011).

The Women’s Library

The Women’s Library, currently housed within the library of the London School of Economics and Political Science, has an impressive collection of materials relating to the history of women and of movements for women’s suffrage, women’s liberation and feminism throughout the UK.

Large parts of the collection are currently being digitised, but it is already possible to access several documents and materials through its Digital Library, including an online exhibition of materials documenting the life and death of Emily Wilding Davison, launched in 2013 to commemorate the centenary of Davison’s protest at the Epsom Derby.

Feminist Studies in the Classroom

This website is a useful resource for teachers and students, provided by the journal Feminist Studies. It lists articles published in the journal in the last four decades which are particularly appropriate for use in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. The articles are listed thematically, and current themes include:

Gender & Society in the Classroom

This website lists articles published in the international journal Gender & Society which are particularly appropriate for use in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. The website is organised thematically: for each theme there is a brief overview of the issues at stake, a list of key articles that relate to it, and a summary of the topic, findings and impacts of each of the articles listed.

Films for the Feminist Classroom

This is an open-access online journal hosted by the editorial office of the journal Signs. Launched in 2009, it publishes two issues per year, each containing reviews and interviews for films that can be used as pedagogical tools in the women’s and gender studies classroom. It also offers extremely useful proposals for lesson plans, which include suggested reading, questions for discussion and examples of student assignments.

Teaching Gender with Libraries and Archives


© Artwork ‘Biografias VI’, by Alicia Martín, displayed at the Museum Meermanno | House of the Book. Photo by Frank Jansen, Den Haag.

This book is edited by Sara de Jong and Sanne Koevoets and contains 11 chapters by authors from institutions – universities, archives, libraries – all over Europe.

It was launched in late 2013 as volume 10 of the Teaching with Gender book series, published by Atgender.

The volume contains several articles analysing the role of libraries and archives in the development of women’s and gender studies, examining the potential and challenges of using libraries and archives in pedagogical practice, and offering strategies and advice for how to do so.

The book also offers an annex with a very comprehensive list of archives, libraries and portals/networks in women’s and gender studies throughout Europe.

It is possible to order a physical copy of the book through the Atgender website. A full PDF version of the book can be found here.

Feminist Archive

The Feminist Archive is composed of two sister archives. The Feminist Archive North (located in Leeds, inside the Brotherton Library, within the campus of the University of Leeds) and the Feminist Archive South (located in Bristol, within the campus of the University of Bristol).

The website of the Feminist Archive North includes:

The website of the Feminist Archive South includes, among many other resources, a collection of excellent oral histories and interviews with activists involved in feminist activism in Bristol in the 1970s and 1980s.

Marks & Spencer Company Archive

The website of this archive includes:

To read about other research and teaching projects based at the University of Leeds which use the collection of the Marks & Spencer Company Archive to explore topics like gender and language, visit this website.


This website includes a large amount of resources, particularly suitable for secondary school students, and for early undergraduates, and it is worth exploring carefully.

You may want to consider, for example, this page on the Equal Pay debate, the materials categorised under “Gender Studies”, or the collection of materials on Flora Solomon (who headed the Marks & Spencer Staff Welfare Service from 1934), produced by the Marks & Spencer Company Archive.

Feminist Library

The Feminist Library, based in London, is a large archive collection of Women’s Liberation Movement literature, particularly second-wave materials dating from the late 1960s to the 1990s. Its website includes a page with reviews of recent books on women, gender and feminism.

The Lesbian Herstory Archives

This New York-based archive is home to the largest collection of materials about lesbians in the world. Its superb digital collection, which can be freely accessed online, contains an impressive amount of videos, photographs and audio recordings relating to the lives and rights of lesbians.

Black Cultural Archives

Black Cultural Archives was founded in 1981 to collect, preserve and celebrate the contributions Black people have made to the culture, society and heritage of the UK. Its website contains a wide range of valuable resources, including a very useful subject guide on the Black Feminist Movement.

Women’s Liberation Music Archive

This archive documents and celebrates the wealth and diversity of the feminist music-making of the 1970s and 80s and demonstrates its importance in the political and social context of that era. It offers a collection of written and oral histories and memorabilia relating to feminist bands, musicians and related projects. This includes photographs, videos, recordings, gig lists, lyrics and musical scores, press clippings, flyers, posters, weblinks and manifestos.


The websites of feminist artists Jacky Fleming and Judy Horacek include images of cartoons and illustrations that relate to a wide range of topics in gender and feminism.


Photo above taken by Maria do Mar Pereira at the Museum of World Culture, in Gothenburg (Sweden).

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