In Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (Viking, 1996), Oxford professor Robin Briggs writes, "Historical European witchcraft is quite simply a fiction, in the sense that there is no evidence that witches existed, still less that they celebrated black masses or worshiped strange gods... On the wilder shores of the feminist and witch-cult movements a potent myth has become established, to the effect that 9 million women were burned as witches in Europe, gendercide rather than genocide. This is an overestimate by a factor of up to 200, for the most reasonable modern estimates suggest perhaps 100,000 trials between 1450 and 1750, with something between 40,000 and 50,000 executions, of which 20-25% were men."
The early l980s saw the beginning of some institutional change, radical feminists were recruited to work for the Greater London Council to develop policy on women and in the creation of local authority Women’s Committees which brought about some change . in London stopping sexist advertising on the tube, changes in the school curricula and the beginnings of some public funding for women’s groups . for Rights of Women, Women’s Manual Trades – however there were also contradictions and some co-option that emerged through these moves, as well as other differences which were arising in the movement and an increasing resistance or backlash against Women’s Liberation from the patriarchal right wing – this was the era of Thatcher after all.
Smith and Parkes, together and apart, wrote many articles on education and employment opportunities. In the same year as Norton, Smith summarized the legal framework for injustice in her 1854 A Brief Summary of the Laws of England concerning Women .  She was able to reach large numbers of women via her role in the English Women's Journal . The response to this journal led to their creation of the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women (SPEW). Smith's Married Women's Property committee collected 26,000 signatures to change the law [ clarification needed ] for all women, including those unmarried.