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Christian Women’s Information and Resource Service (CWIRES) Archive

Date range: 1975–92.

The Christian Women’s Information and Resource Service (CWIRES) was founded in Oxford in 1979, at a time of intense activity and lobbying to promote the role of women in the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and other denominations. The group’s aim was to ‘to assist Christian women and men engaged in research and education on subjects of particular concern to women in the Church'.1

It achieved this objective by acting as a clearing-house for groups working to further the position of women in the Church, exchanging information and publicizing the activities of such groups, collecting resource materials for educational use, and fund-raising for research and educational purposes.

By the time the group closed its doors in 1992, it had assembled a substantial archive of information resources – both printed and duplicated – as well as correspondence and its own administrative records.

There is an extensive series of reports, pamphlets and other ‘grey literature’ arranged according to the original classification scheme under headings such as women and the Church, ordination and vocation, liturgy, sexuality, abortion and medical ethics, racism, feminist theology and philosophy, and Christian feminist groups. 

There are also numerous periodicals and newsletters of other groups (some pre-dating the formation of cwires); newspaper cuttings; and author and subject indices.

The archive constitutes an important resource for studies of the role of women in the Church, feminist theology, and wider social and gender issues.

See also: the Women in Theology Group Archive.

1Christian Women’s Information and Resources Service constitution, 1979.

Finding aids

  • Unpublished box list.
  • See also: Jennifer A. Daggers, ‘The origins and development of feminist theology in Britain, 1960-1990’ (University of Manchester Ph.D. thesis, 2000); Jenny Daggers, The British Christian Women’s Movement: A Rehabilitation of Eve (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002).2

2Both Daggers’ thesis and her subsequent book drew heavily upon the CWIRES Archive. The British Christian Women’s Movement is reviewed by Katherine L. French in Church History, vol. 74, no. 2 (2005), pp. 374–6.

Location

The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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