Badges of Honour

As part of the Badges of Honour project, the Glasgow Women’s Library has been collecting and showcasing women’s badges and the stories which lie behind them.

Badges of Honour image (20th Century) by Glasgow Women's LibraryGlasgow Women's Library

This badge collection gives us an insight into the lives of women who wore these badges, why they were worn, when they were sometimes too frightened to wear them, and when they were worn with pride.

GWL has widely interpreted the term badges to include items such as brooches and pocket watches as they, like traditional badges, have also been worn with pride to broadcast a particular message.

Hillary for US Senate badge (20th Century)Glasgow Women's Library

Their ability to display an individual’s interests and membership in particular groups adds to badge’s unique significance.

Michelle Obama America's Next First Lady badge (21st Century)Glasgow Women's Library

GWL has several badges from throughout Europe and further afield e.g. the above badge worn during Barack Obama's US presidential campaign.

Mothers Right Babies Benefit badge (20th Century)Glasgow Women's Library

Within protests, badges offer a collective voice by using slogans and images to show a common identity, purpose and aim.

Lesbians Against Clause 28 badge (20th Century)Glasgow Women's Library

The badges in our collection cover a variety of areas from LGBT rights...

Abortion: A Woman's Right to Choose badge (20th Century) by National Abortion CampaignGlasgow Women's Library

to abortion rights...

You Can't Beat a Woman badge (20th Century)Glasgow Women's Library

to violence against women.

I heart Reproductive Rights badge (20th Century) by IpasGlasgow Women's Library

The varied collection has allowed women to recall and share their stories of involvement in particular political campaigns or movements such as the anti-war campaign and anti-capitalism campaigners.

We Want Out In Badge (20th Century)Glasgow Women's Library

The collection includes a large variety of LGBTQ badges.

How Dare You Presume I'm Heterosexual badge (20th Century)Glasgow Women's Library

This 'how dare you presume I'm heterosexual' badge was donated to the GWL collection.

This was an important slogan for Lesbian Feminists in the 70s and the idea behind this badge was that heterosexual women would also wear this badge with pride to demonstrate solidarity with Lesbians across the movement.

“In the 1970s not only did everyone who was political wear a badge – they had several! … The politics were written upon the person”

March for Abortion Rights badge, National Abortion Campaign, 20th Century, From the collection of: Glasgow Women's Library
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Within the collection there are several badges from the 1979 campaign opposing MP John Corrie’s private members bill to amend the Abortion Act 1967.

Denying Women Choice is a Crime badge, Labour Abortion Rights Campaign, 20th Century, From the collection of: Glasgow Women's Library
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This (unsuccessful) bill presented a major threat to women’s right to choose when to have children.

No Return to Back Street Abortions badge, 20th Century, From the collection of: Glasgow Women's Library
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MP David Alton was also unsuccessful in introducing an abortion bill in the late 1980s.
His bill aimed to restrict the time limit up to which women can obtain legal abortions.
The above badge was worn in protest to the bill.

A Womans Right to Choose badge, National Abortion Campaign, 20th Century, From the collection of: Glasgow Women's Library
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Keep Abortion Legal badge, National Abortion Campaign, 20th Century, From the collection of: Glasgow Women's Library
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Lesbians Against Clause 28 badge (20th Century)Glasgow Women's Library

This badge was worn as part of the campaign against the controversial Clause 28 which outlawed 'promoting' homosexuality.

Stop the Clause badge (20th Century)Glasgow Women's Library

The law came in to force in 1988 and was not repealed in Scotland until 2000 and the rest of the UK in 2003.

Free the Birmingham Six badge, 20th Century, From the collection of: Glasgow Women's Library
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Throughout history, badges have also been worn to raise awareness of legal injustice. E.g. this badge worn during the campaign to the six men wrongly accused of the Birmingham pub bombing in 1975.

Killed by Plastic Bullets badge (20th Century)Glasgow Women's Library

This badge was worn in response to the killing of members of the public by security forces in Northern Ireland since 1972.


The badge names several of the individuals killed as part of the campaign to stop the use of plastic bullets.

Notts Womens Support Group badge (20th Century) by Notts Women's Support GroupGlasgow Women's Library

Badges like the one above were worn during the miners strikes of 1984-85 to show the support of women to the cause and highlight the impact that the strike had on their lives.

Together for Yes Badge, Together for Yes, 21st Century, From the collection of: Glasgow Women's Library
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The most recent addition to the collection is this 'Yes.' badge, worn during the Irish Abortion Rights campaign in May 2018.

Credits: Story

This exhibition has been curated by GWL Volunteer Sorcha Turnbull.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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Related theme
Road to Equality
Celebrating the stories behind women's rights in the UK
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