1921: Women on jury service

The WI has always strived to ensure women play a full role in public life. This has included emphasising the importance of women jurors and magistrates.

In 1921, a resolution was proposed by Surrey Federation, urging that women should accept their full responsibilities as citizens and should not be exempt from jury duty. This resolution was proposed at a time when virtually no women met the qualifying criteria for jury service.

Years of campaigning continued throughout the twentieth century, with members in the 1950s rallying against the limited pool of jurors, drawn largely from men because service was linked to property ownership.

Another resolution on this issue proposed in 1964, led to a decade of campaigning to implement the Morris Report, which called for jury service to be open to all.

Pressure from the WI and other women’s organisations ultimately led to the Juries Act of 1974.

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