International Women's Year | British Newspaper Archive


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week at The Archive we have added an impressive 70,552 brand new pages, as we mark the launch of International Women’s Year in January 1975 by the United Nations, which would form the basis of International Women’s Day. Meanwhile, we’ve added one brand new title from Scotland, the Cumbernauld News, whilst we also see updates to six of our existing titles from across the United Kingdom.

So read on to discover more about our brand new title of the week, as well as to learn which of our six existing titles we have updated. You can also find out all about 1975’s International Women’s Year, as told from a local Scottish perspective.

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Hot off our presses this week is brand new Scottish title the Cumbernauld News, from which we will learn about International Women’s Year later. The Cumbernauld News was established in the North Lanarkshire town of Cumbernauld in 1961, six years after the town was designated as a New Town. Cumbernauld, however, has a long history stretching back at least to the Roman era, but its designation as a New Town in December 1955 saw unprecedented growth in the area, with Cumbernauld eventually becoming the largest town in North Lanarkshire.

The Cumbernauld News was, therefore, founded to serve the needs of the growing town. It was established by fellow local newspaper the Falkirk Herald, and hot off its heels, in less than a week, another new Cumbernauld newspaper was established by the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, namely the Cumbernauld Courier. But in the battle between the News and the Courier it would be the News that would win out, and the former title would later merge with the Falkirk Chronicle to become the Cumberland News and Kilsyth Chronicle.

From its first edition, which was published on 2 June 1961, the Cumbernauld News appeared every Friday and initially cost just three pence. By the 1990s, the newspaper had expanded from eight pages to over twenty, with an increased price tag to match, now retailing for 22p.

The Cumbernauld News is still published to this day and serves the areas of both Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, as well as the villages between the two towns.

That’s it from our new title of the week but there is plenty for you to explore among our selection of updated titles. Continuing with our Scottish theme, we’ve added new pages to the Bo’ness Journal, and Linlithgow Advertiser, whilst representing Northern Ireland is the Larne Times. Our biggest update of the week is to Leicestershire title the Market Harborough Advertiser and Midland Mail, to which we have added nearly 29,000 brand new pages, which cover the years between 1969 and 1990.

International Women’s Year – 1975

1975 was the year designated by the United Nations as ‘International Women’s Year.’ In a bid to eliminate discrimination against women, the year would also feature the first ever UN world conference on the status of women, which was held in Mexico City. Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, International Women’s Year was launched on 15 January by Princess Alexandra and Barbara Castle, one of the longest-serving British women MPs in history.

Our newspapers are full of references to International Women’s Year, whilst our new title, the Cumbernauld News, provides a special local perspective on the push to improve women’s rights around the world.

On 6 February 1975 the Cumbernauld News provided a rather tongue in cheek reference to International Women’s Year, with its report on the local senior youth club:

This being International Women’s Year it seems that nothing will daunt the fair sex from making their presence felt. In the senior youth club there are now more females than males and while they still find time to make delicious doughnuts and cakes they are displaying talents at five-a-side football that Jimmy Johnstone or John Greig would be proud of – when is it all going to end?

The end would come, at least according to the writer, when youth club members would fail to renew their membership in the middle of February.

Meanwhile, on 6 March 1975, the Cumbernauld News profiled a trailblazing group of women who really ‘dug their work’ as landscape gardeners with the Cumbernauld Development Corporation. The article described how:

Come rain, hail or snow the merry brigade of diggers can be seen working away at the CDC’s 26-acre Glencryan Nursey near Palacerigg. They plant trees and dig up shrubs for use in green belts in every area of the New Town. The seven dirty diggers are not the only female landscape gardeners in Cumbernauld. There are also 13 others who work in various areas of the New Town.

The Cumbernauld News interviewed one of the workers, 28-year-old Cathie Goff of Kirkwall in Cumbernauld Village. She explained how:

‘There’s nothing wrong with women doing a man’s job. It’s International Women’s Year and I’m all for the women’s lib. Besides, we are better and work harder than men.’

Meanwhile, fellow landscaper, 28-year-old Maureen Sawyer of Abronhill, had this to say:

‘It’s a great job. The money is good and it’s very healthy working out of doors. I used to work in an office but would never take another job inside again.’

Finally, providing a comment on the labour of these enterprising women during International Women’s Year, was nursery superintendent Donald McKay:

‘The women are great workers and the men seem to get on fine with them.’

Later on in 1975 the Cumbernauld News provided further coverage of International Women’s Year, printing this update on the charitable efforts of the National Union of Townswomen’s Guilds, a network of friendship groups for women:

Members of the National Union of Townswomen’s Guilds throughout Britain will be joining with Population Countdown to raise £10,000 next year to finance a family life education project in Lesotho which aims to improve mother and child welfare. The NUTG have chosen to finance the project as the major part of their programme for International Women’s Year – 1975 has been designated as such by the United Nations

Find out more about International Women’s Year, women’s history, and much more besides, in the pages of our newspaper Archive today.

New Titles
TitleYears Added
Cumbernauld News1961-1991
Updated Titles

This week we have updated six of our existing titles.

You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.

TitleYears Added
Bo’ness Journal, and Linlithgow Advertiser1885-1887, 1890-1891
Eastbourne Herald1988
Larne Times1930
Market Harborough Advertiser and Midland Mail1969-1972, 1974, 1976-1980, 1983-1988, 1990
Selby Times1917
Thetford & Watton Times1917

You can keep up to date with all the latest additions by visiting the recently added page.  You can even look ahead to see what we’re going to add tomorrow.


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