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Married Women's Property Acts

Married Women's Property Acts, 1870, 1882. Prior to these a woman's property became her husband's upon marriage. Reformers sought the same rights for married women over their property as those enjoyed by men and unmarried women. Whilst recognizing the principle that, in certain circumstances, women should retain and control their own property, the 1870 Act was regarded as a ‘feeble compromise’ and the Married Women's Property Committee pressed for greater reform. The 1882 Act, allowing wives to acquire, hold, use, and dispose of their separate property, with recourse to the same legal protection as if unmarried, was a major victory.

Audrey MacDonald

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