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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 Social Duty

Maternal Reformers and Social Duty

Chapter:
(p.47) 3 Maternal Reformers and Social Duty
Source:
Women Against the Vote
Author(s):

Julia Bush (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248773.003.0003

Women's wider social duty was understood by most female anti-suffragists to be a benign extension of their maternal role, though it must not be allowed to overshadow home life. The lives of the five women discussed in Chapter 2 are followed through in relation to their social activism at the end of the 19th century. Individual social action gradually led to a deepening involvement in collective work for philanthropic and religious causes. The National Union of Women Workers was the largest ‘umbrella’ organization for womanly social service from the 1890s onwards, and an important meeting ground for suffragists and anti-suffragists until an acrimonious split within its Council in 1912-13. The major Anglican women's organizations — the Girls' Friendly Society and the Mothers' Union — were more successful in maintaining an apolitical stance at the height of the suffrage campaign, whilst at the same time subtly reinforcing the gender conservatism which underpinned female anti-suffragism.

Keywords:   social action, philanthropic, religious, gender conservatism, National Union of Women Workers, Girls' Friendly Society, Mothers' Union

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