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Caroline Norton
Caroline Norton completely changed the playing field for divorced women in the 1800s with her advocacy and social work. Married to a man who beat her savagely, she asked for a divorce in 1836 only to be thrown out of her home and denied access to her children. During those times a man had the right to lock up and beat his wife as he wished, and he owned all of her belongings (not even children were legally the mother's).

Infuriated with the injustice of it, Norton helped pass the Custody of Infants Act 1839, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, and the Married Women's Property Act 1870, which gave women rights when it came to separation.