Women's Labour League

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The Women's Labour League was a pressure organisation, founded in London in 1906, to promote the political representation of women in parliament and local bodies.[1] The idea was first suggested by Mary MacPherson, a linguist and journalist who had connections with the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants,[2] and was taken up by several notable socialist women, including Margaret MacDonald, Marion Phillips and Margaret Bondfield.[3][4] The League's inaugural conference was held in Leicester, with representatives of branches in London, Leicester, Preston and Hull. It was affiliated to the Labour Party.[3] Margaret MacDonald acted as the League's president,[5] while both Margaret Bondfield and Marion Phillips served at times as its organising secretary.[6]

Much of the League's campaigning effort was devoted to the issue of women's suffrage. When the Representation of the People Act 1918 gave a partial women's franchise, the League decided to disband as an independent organisation. It became the women's section of the Labour Party, which had reorganised under a new constitution that year.[3]

The Labour History Archive and Study Centre at the People's History Museum in Manchester holds the records of the Women's Labour League in their collection.[7]

Members of the Executive[edit]

The following were members of the executive of the Women's Labour League:[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Women, the Vote and Labour 1906-1918". National Co-operative Archive. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  2. ^ Collette, Christine (1989). For Labour and for Women: The Women's Labour League 1906–18. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-7190-2591-5.
  3. ^ a b c "Labour History Archive and Study Centre". Archives hub. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  4. ^ Williamson, Philip. "Bondfield, Margaret Grace". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online edition. Retrieved 21 August 2014. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  5. ^ June, Hannam. "MacDonald, Margaret Ethel Gladstone". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online edition. Retrieved 23 August 2014. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  6. ^ Collette, Christine (1989). For Labour and for Women: The Women's Labour League 1906–18. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 132–34. ISBN 0-7190-2591-5.
  7. ^ Collection Catalogues and Descriptions, Labour History Archive and Study Centre
  8. ^ Christine Collette, For Labour and for Women: The Women's Labour League, 1906-1918, p.54