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Browne, Stella (1880-1955)

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Browne, Stella (1880-1955)


Browne, Stella


A Canadian born British feminist, socialist, and birth control and abortion campaigner.


Johnson-Flenga, Circe (created stub)







Person Item Type Metadata

Birth Date



Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Death Date



Social Activist

Biographical Text

Stella Browne was born on May 9th of 1880, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. At a young age, however, her family left Halifax, and Browne pursued an international education.
In 1902, Browne graduated from Somerville with a second class honors degree in modern history.
Shortly after, her career in social activism began when she joined the Women's Social and Political Union in 1908. Only three years later, Stella Browne described herself as a "socialist, extreme left-wing feminist". Her contemporaries who also fought for women's rights, such as Dora Russell, weren't as concerned as Browne was on the issue of abortion. Dora Russell even said "We were trying to get birth control on the way and we didn't want a disturbance to our work". Although women like Dora Russell believed in the cause, they didn't want to compromise their chances of birth control being accepted.
Stella Browne was not only an activist for birth control and abortion, but she was an advocate for women's rights. In 1912 she published her paper "The Freewoman" which was succeeded by her most well known work "Sexual Variety and Variability among Women". Throughout the 1920's Browne became a public speaker, a secretary for the Chelsea Labour Party, and presented "The Right to Abortion" to the London Sexual Reform Congress.
In the 1930's, however, Browne had many major accomplishments. Firstly, in 1930, the Ministry of Health allowed local authorities to release information and advice about birth control in welfare centers. On the 17th of February 1936, Browne, along with Janet Chance, and Alice Jenkins founded the Abortion Law Reform Association which published a manifesto which demanded the legalization of abortions and birth control, easier divorce laws, better education, legalization of homosexuality, and destigmatization of unmarried mothers of children. Browne later on became Vice President for the Society for Sex Education and Guidance which was founded in 1943.
Stella Browne died on May 8th of 1955.