The Politics of Women's Suffrage

Local, National and International Dimensions
Edited by Alexandra Hughes-Johnson and Lyndsey Jenkins
1 November 2021
245 × 163 mm
422 pp
Hardback: 978-1-912702-95-4
Paperback: 978-1-912702-96-1
PDF: 978-1-912702-98-5

From 1832 to the present day, from the countryside in Wales to the Comintern in Moscow, from America to Finland and Ireland to Australia, from the girls’ school to the stage, women’s suffrage was the most significant challenge to the constitution since 1832, seeking not only to settle demands for inclusion and justice but to expand and redefine definitions of citizenship. This collection advances ongoing debates within suffrage history whilst also drawing on a range of new sources, different intellectual techniques and methodological approaches, which challenge established interpretations. 

With its focus on politics and political activism in its broadest sense, this collection makes a timely and substantial contribution to understanding the meaning of politics and political activism across the UK (and indeed, across the world) in this period, particularly as defined and experienced by women at the grassroots. This collection is a reminder of the ways in which women have often encountered and battled a hostile political climate, but pushed forward with determination, skill, tenacity and optimism: resonating with the renewed interest in women’s history and feminist politics today.  

Table of contents: 

Foreword: The Women’s Movement, War, and the Vote: Some Reflections on 1918 and Its Aftermath
Susan Grayzel

Alexandra Hughes-Johnson and Lyndsey Jenkins

I. Working within existing political structures

1. “‘[T]he success of every great movement had been largely due to the free and continuous exercise of the right to petition’: Irish Suffrage Petitioners and Parliamentarians in the Nineteenth Century
Jennifer Redmond

2. Singing The Red Flag for suffrage: gender, class and feminism in the Canning Town Branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union, 1906-7 
Lyndsey Jenkins

3. Suffrage Organizers, Local Women and the Campaign in Wales
Beth Jenkins

4. A “practical” politics? Suffrage, Infant Welfare and Women’s Politics in Walsall, 1910-1939
Anna Muggeridge

5. “Keep Your Eyes On Us Because There Is No More Napping”: The Wartime Suffrage Campaign of the Suffragettes of the WSPU and the Independent WSPU
Alexandra Hughes-Johnson

II. Working through social and cultural structures

6. English Girls' High Schools and Women's Suffrage
Helen Sunderland

7. 'A mistake to raise any controversial question at the present time’: the careful relationship of Glasgow’s suffragists with the press 1902-1918
Sarah Pedersen

8. “The Weakest Link”: Suffrage writing, class interests and the isolated woman of leisure
Sos Eltis

9. Militancy in the Marital Sphere: the birth-strike as a militant suffrage tactic
Tania Shew

III. Navigating international structures  

10. Suffrage internationalism in practice: Dora Montefiore and the story of Finnish women's enfranchisement
Karen Hunt

11. “East Side Londoners”: Sylvia Pankhurst’s lecture tours of North America and the East London Federation of Suffragettes
Kate Connelly

12. Emotions and Empire in Suffrage and Anti-Suffrage Politics: Britain, Ireland and Australia in the Early Twentieth Century
Sharon Crozier-De Rosa

13. From Votes for Women to World Revolution: British and Irish Suffragettes and International Communism, 1917-1939
Maurice J. Casey

Afterword: A Tale of Two Centennials: Suffrage, Suffragettes and the Limits of Political Participation
Nicoletta F. Gullace