Married Women’s Property Act 1964

Image of section 1 of the Married Women's Property Act 1964

The significance of the incremental reform contained in the Married Women’s Property Act 1964 cannot be overstated. It led to more radical discussions of automatic equal division of property between husband and wife – a central aim of the Married Women’s Association

Sharon Thompson

The effect of the Married Women’s Property Act 1964 was simple: it enabled a wife to share housekeeping money (and any property derived from that money) equally with her husband. Previously it was legally considered to be her husband’s money only and so reverted back to him. Yet in spite of the Act’s brevity – section 1 comprises only seventy-one words – and apparently narrow scope, the Act was hugely significant, as for the first time, it enabled married women without independent income to acquire their own money.

The full version of this landmark is written by Sharon Thompson.


Learn More

Sisterhood and After Research Team, ‘Marriage and Civil Partnership’ (British Library, 8 March 2013)