It’s impossible, when researching a woman’s role in historical fiction, not to be appalled by the inequalities, abuse, and lack of rights women suffered in previous centuries. It’s equally impossible not to be inspired by those women who fought for what we take for granted today – the right to an education, to own property, to keep our own wages and hold our own money, to have a say in our children’s upbringing, to be able to apply for custody when things go wrong, to be able to hold absent fathers to account when it comes to supporting their children, not to be set aside without a penny or be legally raped in marriage, to be able to earn a living wage, to be able to attend university, vote, and stand for parliament.
All these things were denied women by the men who controlled their lives in every way, even to not allowing women to have public toilets! Unbelievable? True – it kept women at home where men wanted them. That the women of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries had the courage to rebel is astounding given the male dominance of the period. That they had the resilience to keep on standing up and fighting every time they were knocked down is inspirational. That they had the energy to do this, given the long working hours, a child a year, and denying themselves food so their families could eat is almost unbelievable.
Yet they did this, for themselves, their families, and for us who came after them. This is why all my books, be they historical, contemporary, or post-apocalyptic, have strong women who fight for what they believe in, be it that the truth of their conditions be known, or that a woman should have rights over her own body, or protecting a younger sister from abuse, or the right to marry for love, or for a living wage, women’s suffrage, and equality, or just independence. We have come a long way in two hundred years, but ordinary women fought long and hard for every small advance in sexual equality and in some spheres of life are still fighting. I, for one, am extremely grateful. http://author.to/RebeccaBryn read their extraordinary stories and be inspired.