Wedding rings

Exeter academics seeking experiences of the ‘marriage bar’

In order to better understand the history of discrimination against women, particularly in the workplace, two Exeter academics are investigating the impact of the ‘marriage bar’.

This was adopted by many organisations, and was commonplace in the banking sector and civil service, requiring women to leave work when they got married and was in place in the UK throughout the 1960s. 

The foreign office enforced the marriage bar until 1972.

Women have often been written out of cultural history due to their ‘secondary’ role in political and economic development. This research hopes to uncover the life experiences in which being a wife and mother was seen as a vocation and to examine the contribution made by women engaged in unpaid, voluntary and home-based work, something that is often overlooked.

To assist with the project, the researchers are looking for women who have directly experienced the ‘marriage bar’ and are willing to explain how it has affected their lives. To discuss participation in the research, please contact Emma Jeanes on 01392 724518 or email

It is hoped that the research will be of benefit to those interested in the history of working practices and workplace discrimination, the cultural history of the family and the lives of women.

Date: 7 June 2010

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