Society for Promoting the Employment of Women

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The Society for Promoting the Employment of Women (SPEW) was one of the earliest British women's organizations.

The society was established in 1859 by Jessie Boucherett, Barbara Bodichon and Adelaide Anne Proctor to promote the training and employment of women.[1] The Dictionary of Canadian Biography says Maria Rye was also a founding member.[2] In its early years it was affiliated to the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, though formal connections between them were severed in 1889. The society's journal was the English Women's Journal[3] published by Emily Faithfull's Victoria Press.

When the organization was founded, it was only acceptable for middle class women to be ladies companions and governesses. SPEW made it acceptable for women to be typists, hairdressers, printers, and bookkeepers.[4]

In 1926 it was renamed the Society for Promoting the Training of Women (SPTW). The society is still in existence today, operating as the registered charity Futures for Women.[5] Its papers up to 1991 are held at Girton College, Cambridge.[3]


  1. ^ Gordon, Peter; Doughan, David (2001). "Society for Promoting the Employment of Women". Dictionary of British Women's Organisations, 1825-1960. London & Portland, Or.: Woburn Press. pp. 129–30. ISBN 0-7130-0223-9.
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  3. ^ a b Janus: Society for Promoting the Training of Women
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  5. ^ Futures for Women at, the web site of Futures for Women (accessed February 2014)