Celebrating Women

Around the world, March is a time to particularly focus on and celebrate the historical, social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Not only is it Women’s History Month, but International Women’s Day also falls on 8 March.

Here at Jane Austen’s House, we have a plethora of events and ways to celebrate Jane Austen and some of the strong, rebellious women she knew and loved.

First up, we present our new display Obstinate Headstrong Girls. This small but lively display celebrates seven wonderful women from Jane Austen’s life, curated by our Creative Engagement Officer Ellora Sutton. You can visit the display in the Family Room or view an online version.

We also have a host of events for you to join – either here in Chawton or online, from the comfort of your own home.

On Wednesday 6 March we’ll be joining Women Writers – An International Conversation about four cherished women writers: Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell from the UK and L.M. Montgomery and Emily Carr from Canada. These authors created some of the world’s best loved and heavily translated classics including Pride and Prejudice, North and South, Anne of Green Gables and The Book of Small. Join us to share in this celebration of women writers who continue to inspire both huge popular appeal and serious scholarly research across international lines. This event is produced in partnership with Carr House, L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI) and Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.

On Thursday 7 March we are joining forces once again with Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, the Brontë Parsonage Museum and Chawton House to host an online event celebrating women from across our collection. Female Friendship in Literary Lives will bring together speakers from all four houses to explore a wealth of female friendships – from Jane Austen’s relationship with her friend Madam Lefroy, to Elizabeth Gaskell and Eliza Fox, Charlotte BrontĂ«, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor, and Mary Wollstonecraft and Amelia Opie. It promises to be a fascinating and heart-warming evening of literary friendship and support.

On Friday 8 March, you can join our Guided Tour: Obstinate Headstrong Girls – an early morning tour of Jane Austen’s House, focusing on some of the remarkable and unruly women Jane Austen knew, loved and was inspired by. This tour will bring the display Obstinate Headstrong Girls to life, introducing you to a cousin who fled the French revolution, an aunt imprisoned for theft, the woman who may have inspired Pride and Prejudice’s boy-mad Lydia Bennet, a poet, and (shock horror) women who, like Jane Austen, refused marriage entirely. (And if you can’t make it to Chawton, you can enjoy a Virtual Tour of Obstinate Headstrong Girls On Saturday 13 April!)

And finally, on Sunday 10 March you can enjoy another special tour of the House. Our Guided Tour: Mothers’ Day Special is the perfect Mothers’ Day treat, celebrating a host of mothers in Jane Austen’s life and works. As part of a small group, you will enjoy an early morning tour of the House before it is open to the public. In each room, you’ll learn about some of the best (and worst!) mothers in Jane Austen’s novels, from ‘nervous’ Mrs Bennet and ‘easy and indolent’ Mrs Price to ‘merry, fat’ Mrs Jennings, and Jane Austen’s own mother, Cassandra Leigh, an inspirational woman in her own right!