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Women's involvement in public life pre 1901

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Amanda Seys

on 30 September 2009

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Transcript of Women's involvement in public life pre 1901

Women's involvement in public life pre 1901
Key Questions
Why were only some aspects of public life deemed appropriate fields in which women could contribute?
How far did women's limited involvement in public life create additional pressure for the vote?
Poor law administration
Education
Women and politics
Legislation
1869 single and widowed women who paid rates could vote in Lunicipal elections - Municipal Franchise Act
1894 - Local Government Act gave married women right to vote in local elections and allows women to stand for election as municipal councillors
Education Act, 1870 - women can stand for election to school boards
WHY?
no state education pre 1870 - 34% not educated
Rapid population growth and urbanisation - existing system under pressure
Competition with Germany and USA
1867 Reform Act - working class men can vote
1870 - Forster's Education Act
Elementary schools created in districts with little provision
Existing provision continues alongside
School boards elected to run districts
Women could be elected to school boards and volunteer as school managers
Arguments for and against - p33
Some links between education and politics
BUT 1902 replacement of school boards by male run local authorities
1875 - first woman elected as Poor Law Guardian
By 1901 = 1000 female guardians of the poor
Unofficial involvement pre 1875:
Provision of christmas presents for children
Articles regarding sad conditions and charitable acts
Make start in persuading authorities to understand child's need for toys and personal possessions
Workhouse Visiting Society, 1859
Workhouse visiting becomes nationally organised
Role of Louisa Twining (p37)
Committee of 63 male and female respected citizens - spearhead for workhouse reform
Overt aim = help and comfort individual paupers, covert aim = change attitudes to poor and causes of poverty
How far did involvement in poor law administration challenge the angel in the house and seperate spheres ideologies?
1884 Reform Act doubles male franchise
Need to appeal to voters
Need to organise - turn to women
Need for volunteers
Women in supporting role
Growth of women's political organisations
Primrose League
Women's Liberal Association
Difficulties of sitting on male dominated councils
Concern with welfare issues
Full transcript