Radical Women 1880-1914

Conference, 17 September 2016, Salford, United Kingdom

Event location: Old Fire Station, Crescent, Salford

Date: 17th Sep 2016

Event time: 09:30 to 16:00

A One-Day Public Conference 
Keynote Speakers:
Professor Sheila Rowbotham, Manchester University, UK
Professor Karen Hunt, Keele University, UK

The decades spanning the turn of the twentieth century saw an upsurge in female activism as women began to organise themselves into trade unions, take part in the socialist debates on social and economic change, and demand the vote.  Radical women had a significant effect on working class industrial power as the London matchgirls' strike of 1888 sparked the rise of New Unionism, which combined socialism with trade unionism.  The co-operative movement and syndicalists also benefitted from the hard work and determination of female members.  Not all was harmonious, though, as demands for the vote and gender equality were met by the benign patriarchy of socialists such as Blatchford, the overt misogyny of Ernest Belfort Bax and ‘Tattler’ as well as the industrial gender-conservatism of male trade unions.  Radical women not only battled against the gender-conservative males within their family or community but also those who claimed to be fighting for equality.

This conference will celebrate the battles and achievements of working-class women in the drive to achieve a fairer and more balanced society.  

Conference Fee: £20 waged; £7.50 unwaged.

Places must be reserved and paid for in advance. Please email Royston Futter, trustees@wcml.org.uk


Themes and Speakers


Keynote Speakers

Sheila Rowbotham

Karen Hunt


Celtic Socialist Women

Socialist Women in Wales, 1880-1914 (Martin Wright)

Bella Pearce/’Lily Bell’: Glasgow Feminist, Socialist, and Christian Sexual Mystic’ (Tanya Cheadle)


German Socialist Women

‘The Last Man of German Social Democracy’: Rosa Luxemburg’s Position as a Woman in the International Socialist Movement (Rory Castle)

Forging Internationalism in the British Socialist Women’s Movement: Clara Zetkin in Justice, 1893-1914 (John Partington)


International Radicalism

‘Margarethe Faas-Hardegger's anarchist analysis of women in/vs. syndicalist unions’ (Corrine Chambers)

‘The Struggle For Women’s Rights in Iran’ (Nader Fekri)


Radical Women and Heritage

‘Ada Neild Chew and the vote – life of Chew and effects of Local Youth Engagement Project’ (Kirsty Bunting and Orla McCabe)

Current working-class women’s engagement with their radical heritage (Jenna Ashton)

Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, socialist feminism, and WW1 (Nicola Wilson)


Female Collective Action

East End of London’s unorganisable organise: 1880-1914 (Dianne Shepherd)

A Storm in a Tea Shop? The Cabin Waitresses’s Strike, 1908 (Ann Featherstone)

The women would have what was their right’: Female Activism in the Boot and Shoe Industry, 1880-1914’ (Ann Featherstone)

Wigan’s ‘doughty henchwomen’ run Britain’s first Women’s Suffrage candidate’s campaign (Yvonne Eckersley)


Radical Women, Radical Bodies

‘Socialist Purity Campaigners and Women’s Writing on Sex’ – Elizabeth Blackwell, Jane Ellice Hopkins (Chieko Chikawa)

‘Women, class and the struggle to control fertility’ – working-class women and abortion (Judith Orr)

‘Privilege, Politics and Protest: The Case of Constance Lytton’ – prison reform for women’s prisons (Wendy Tuxill)