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Women Against the VoteFemale Anti-Suffragism in Britain$
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Julia Bush

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248773

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248773.001.0001

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Maternal Reformers and Education

Maternal Reformers and Education

Chapter:
(p.23) 2 Maternal Reformers and Education
Source:
Women Against the Vote
Author(s):

Julia Bush (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248773.003.0002

The maternal reformers were the most important leadership group among the women anti-suffragists. Their ideas underpinned what became known, after 1908, as the forward policy: a positive version of female anti-suffragism which aimed to enhance women's gendered participation in public life as social reformers and participants in local government, whilst sparing them from the polluting rigours of parliamentary politics. This chapter opens with a discussion of the growing importance of maternalism in Victorian Britain. A group of leading anti-suffragist maternal reformers is identified, including Mary Ward, Louise Creighton, Ethel Harrison, Elizabeth Wordsworth, and Lucy Soulsby. An outline is presented of their formative years and personal experiences of female education. This is followed by a discussion of their ideas and activities as maternalist educational reformers in late Victorian Oxford and elsewhere. Despite varied life experiences, these women shared important ideals which were relevant to wider female anti-suffragism.

Keywords:   maternalism, forward policy, local government, female education, late Victorian Oxford, Mary Ward, Louise Creighton, Ethel Harrison, Elizabeth Wordsworth, Lucy Soulsby

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