Oxford extends freeman right to women

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London, Nov 16 : The right to be a freeman of Oxford has always been awarded to men, but now for the first time it has been extended to women by the Oxford Freeman association.

Founded in Saxon times, the association has now decided to include the women folk also and has this year accepted its first ten female members, with another 20 expected to be welcomed next year.

The admissions overturn a ban that was set out in the admission rules contained in the association's charter of 1551.

"In the old days there was no need for women to become freemen because they were busy having kids, but we live in an era of equality with women doing the same roles as me and rightly so," the Telegraph quoted Chris Butterfield, an Oxford freeman, as saying.

"The old rules stated that membership could only be passed from father to son or through becoming someone's apprentice. We felt that things should become equal," he said.

The Privy Council agreed to change the charter in May and on 30 October Linda Cox, 23, Butterfield's daughter became the first woman to join the association.

"To me it was important to join because my dad and the others had worked so hard to change the rules so that we would be allowed to join and become Freewomen," she stated.

At the time of the Domesday book, only freemen could vote and trade in Oxford. They were also the only people who could be elected to the town council until 1835.

ANI

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