International Women's Day. Images of five female CDP authors

International Women’s Day!

Every year on 8th March, since 1911, we celebrate women the world over for International Women’s Day and this year is no exception.

This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias and focuses on gender equality for a world free of bias and discrimination. You can find out more about International Women’s Day directly from IWD here.

We also take the day to celebrate our female authors and the amazing things they’ve achieved, apart from writing amazing books!

Jane Allison (top left) became a debut novelist at 72, after retiring from teaching. Jane spent her career teaching English at secondary level. The girls she taught always told her that she’d write a book one day and they weren’t wrong!

Did you know that in the UK it’s only been compulsory for all children to receive an education since 1880 thanks to the 1880 Education Act?

Julia Vaughan (top middle) works for the NHS as a medical secretary. She was redeployed during COVID to a new team and reconnecting with old colleagues is one of the reasons her debut novel came about. A short story written years ago was shared among colleagues and they had to know what happened next! This turned into the backstory for the main character of Julia’s debut novel. Julia has also participated in Brave The Shave for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Did you know that the UK’s first female doctor was Elizabeth Garrett Anderson in 1865? She was allowed to officially register with the GMC due to a loophole that allowed women with a foreign medical degree to practice as a doctor in the UK. Elizabeth had to study in the US. No hospital would allow her to practice medicine with them so she set up her own practice on Euston Road and it was run by women, for women.

Helen Aitchison (top right) works in the charity sector. She is currently an Area Manager for a National Charity, Changing Lives. Based in North-East England, she has two decades experience of working in health and social care including with temporary supported accommodation for young people leaving care; homeless adults with multiple needs; people experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence; mental health hospital discharge support and services to support victims of modern slavery and exploitation.

Did you know that the world’s first refuge for victims of domestic violence opened in Chiswick in London in 1971? The Centre for Women’s Justice has an interactive timeline on key legal developments for women’s justice which covers things like where the rule of thumb comes from and a city of London byelaw from 1895 that made hitting your wife between the hours of 10pm and 7am illegal, because the noise kept people awake. You can find the interactive timeline here. It’s well worth the read.

Kris Rogers (middle left) worked as a civil servant before retraining to work in the charity sector. She has previously worked writing applications for grants for funding and volunteers at her local hospital. She’s also worked for a Motor Neuron Disease charity and a charity supporting the homeless. She currently works for School Readers, a charity that places volunteers in schools to help children with their reading on a 1:1 basis. Find out more about School Readers here.

Did you know that around one in six adults (5.8 million people) in England and Northern Ireland score at the lowest level of proficiency in literacy. This means they are unable to read a medicine label, follow a timetable, or interpret simple written instructions.

(Source OECD (2013), England & Northern Ireland (UK), Country Note -Survey of Adult Skills first results p.65.)

Sarah Watts (bottom left) is a Business Improvement District Ambassador for her local area in Richmond, London. She previously worked in recruitment.

Did you know that in the UK in the 800s, Anglo-Saxon laws allowed women to own their own property, before and after marriage. This changed, however, in the 1100s with the creation of coverture, which is the belief that married men and women are one financial entity. This meant they could not longer do things like run taverns or sue in court. Coverture eventually became corrupted into the view that women were the property of their husbands. It wasn’t until 1926 that women were again allowed the same rights towards property as men. This article from The Guardian has a timeline of women’s rights around money that’s an interesting read.

This International Women’s Day, and every day, CDP is committed to not only publish the best fiction from UK authors of all genders, ethnicities and backgrounds but to #BreakTheBias in publishing and everything we do. Women in Publishing was set up in 1979 to end the gender bias in publishing. You can find out more about it here.

Follow #BreakTheBias on social media and get involved however you can.