Professor Sheila Rowbotham, Manchester University
Professor Karen Hunt, Keele University
The decades spanning the turn of the twentieth century saw an upsurge in female activism as women began to organise themselves into trade unions, take part in the socialist debates on social and economic change, and demand the vote. Radical women had a significant effect on working class industrial power as the London matchgirls' strike of 1888 sparked the rise of New Unionism, which combined socialism with trade unionism. The co-operative movement and syndicalists also benefited from the hard work and determination of female members. Not all was harmonious, though, as demands for the vote and gender equality were met by the benign patriarchy of socialists such as Blatchford, the overt misogyny of Ernest Belfort Bax and ‘Tattler’ as well as the industrial gender-conservatism of male trade unions. Radical women not only battled against the gender-conservative males within their family or community but also those who claimed to be fighting for equality.
This conference will celebrate the battles and achievements of working-class women in the drive to achieve a fairer and more balanced society. Public-facing proposals for 30-minute papers on any aspect of female radicalism are invited. Papers might address (but are not limited to) the following areas:
• Female campaigners and organisers
• Female industrial combination
• Female authors, playwrights and poets
• Regional and metropolitan female activism
• Cross-gender working relations
Deadline for proposals: Monday 25 April 2016.
Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to:-
Conference fee: £20 waged; £7.50 unwaged.