Maternal feminism is the belief of many early feminists that women as mothers and caregivers had an important but distinctive role to play in society and in politics. It incorporates reform ideas from social feminism, combines the concepts of maternalism and feminism, it was a widespread philosophy among well-to-do women in the British Empire Canada, from the late 19th century until after World War I. The concept was attacked by feminists as accepting the paternalist view of society and providing an excuse for inequality. Christina Hoff Sommers, a critic of late 20th century feminism, has defined maternal feminism as a "recognition that the sexes are equal but different." Sommers contrasts the "egalitarian feminism" of Mary Wollstonecraft to the maternal feminism of Hannah More. Wollstonecraft thought, "men and women were the same in their spirits and souls, deserving of the same rights." According to Sommers, "Hannah met women. She believed there was a feminine nature and that women were caring and nurturing, different from men but deserving of equality."
More was popular in her day, but if she is remembered now it is for accepting and rationalizing the patriarchal system of her day. The conservative English authors Frances Trollope and Elizabeth Gaskell both thought that women should be better educated so they would be less dependent on men. Trollope thought that financially secure women should go beyond providing moral education to their children, should express in public their maternal values, social concerns and caring outlook, her novels show how a young heroine can improve a corrupt society through her moral influence. To some early feminists, such as the novelist Fanny Fern and the temperance leader Letitia Youmans, maternal feminism was a strategy through which women could achieve their goal of equal rights. In the United States, women became active in social reform in the early 1830s, but were constrained by traditional concepts of maternal feminism; when the Female Moral Reform Society was founded in 1834 there was considerable criticism of the fact that respectable women were discussing prostitution.
The protofeminism of this society was lost as it evolved into a charity running homes for reformed prostitutes. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the largest women's organization in the US by the 1880s, provided an opportunity for women to participate in causes such as prison reform, labor conditions, education and suffrage. However, the WCTU saw women purely as wives and mothers, accepting the constraints of maternal feminism. Maternal feminism reached its peak at a time when the British Empire was still expanding fast, but new ideas about women's suffrage, temperance and socialism were in the air. Talking of this period Veronica Strong-Boag said, "Women themselves, like everyone else in Canadian society, identified their sex with a maternal role. A re-invigorated motherhood, the natural occupation for all women, could serve as a buttress against all the destabilizing elements in Canada."The growth of maternal feminism at the expense of the new woman in Britain and her colonies may have been due in part to the rapid expansion of the British empire after 1870.
The Anglo-Saxon birth rate seemed to be falling. There was concern about a shortage of Britons "to fill the empty spaces of the empire." To ensure an adequate supply of Anglo-Saxons, women were flooded with propaganda that urged them to become "mothers of the race" by having more children, a superior purpose, embraced by many feminists. Racism and imperialism thus contributed to support for maternal feminism. Edith Wrigley, wife of George Weston Wrigley, edited the women's column in Citizen and Country, a newspaper that supported the Canadian Socialist League, she was active in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. In her column "The Kingdom of the Home" Wrigley expressed the maternal feminist position that love and purity, the values of the home, should become the guiding principles of politics. Margaret Haile ran in the 1902 provincial election for the CSL in North Toronto, she was said to be the first woman in the British Empire to compete in a political election. She "still clung to the notion of the home as a traditional source of woman's power".
Ruth Lestor became known as the first lady socialist lecturer in Canada during a speaking tour for the SPC in 1909–11. She sometimes used maternal feminist rhetoric; this did not reflect her underlying belief in complete sexual equality. In the 19th and early 20th centuries there were strong ties between maternal feminism and the suffrage and temperance movements, both of which aimed to improve the conditions of women and children at home and at work. There was a natural link between pacifism and maternal feminism. Augusta Stowe-Gullen said in 1915 that "when women have a voice in national and international affairs, war will cease forever." This became an hard position to support as World War I dragged on. Some who stayed true to maternal feminism and pacifism during the war were socialist or communist, such as the Canadian Gertrude Richardson. Rose Henderson was another Canadian peace activist who embraced maternal feminism, their radicalism gave ammunition to opponents of feminism. Maternal feminism combines the concepts of feminism.
Many of the maternalist reformers and organizations like the Elizabeth Fry Society and the Salvation Army did not identify themselves as feminist, pursued strategies and objectives that were different from t
Feminist movements and ideologies
A variety of movements of feminist ideology have developed over the years. They vary in goals and affiliations, they overlap, some feminists identify themselves with several branches of feminist thought. Judith Lorber distinguishes between three broad kinds of feminist discourses: gender reform feminisms, gender resistant feminisms, gender revolution feminisms. In her typology, gender reform feminisms are rooted in the political philosophy of liberalism with its emphasis on individual rights. Gender resistant feminisms focus on specific behaviors and group dynamics through which women are kept in a subordinate position in subcultures which claim to support gender equality. Gender revolution feminisms seek to disrupt the social order through deconstructing its concepts and categories and analyzing the cultural reproduction of inequalities. "Mainstream feminism" as a general term identifies feminist ideologies and movements which do not fall into either the socialist or radical feminist camps. The mainstream feminist movement traditionally focused on political and legal reform, has its roots in first-wave feminism and in the historical liberal feminism of the 19th and early-20th centuries.
In 2017, Angela Davis referred to mainstream feminism as "bourgeois feminism". The term is today used by essayists and cultural analysts in reference to a movement made palatable to a general audience by celebrity supporters like Taylor Swift. Mainstream feminism is derisively referred to as "white feminism," a term implying that mainstream feminists don't fight for intersectionality with race and sexuality. Mainstream feminism has been accused of being commercialized, of focusing on issues that are less contentious in the western world today, such as women's political participation or female education access. Radical feminists sometimes criticize mainstream feminists as part of "a system of patriarchy". Major milestones of the feminist struggle—such as the right to vote and the right to education—came about as a result of the work of the mainstream feminist movement, which emphasized building far-reaching support for feminist causes among both men and women. Anarcha-feminism combines anarchism with feminism.
It views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle and of the anarchist struggle against the state. In essence, the philosophy sees anarchist struggle as a necessary component of feminist struggle and vice versa; as L. Susan Brown puts it, "as anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power, it is inherently feminist". Important historic anarcha-feminists include Emma Goldman, Federica Montseny, Voltairine de Cleyre, Maria Lacerda de Moura, Lucy Parsons. In the Spanish Civil War, an anarcha-feminist group, Mujeres Libres, linked to the Federación Anarquista Ibérica, organized to defend both anarchist and feminist ideas. Contemporary anarcha-feminist writers/theorists include Germaine Greer, L. Susan Brown, the eco-feminist Starhawk. Contemporary anarcha-feminist groups include Bolivia's Mujeres Creando, Radical Cheerleaders, the Spanish anarcha-feminist squat La Eskalera Karakola, the annual La Rivolta! conference in Boston.
Black feminism argues that sexism, class oppression, racism are inextricably bound together. Forms of feminism that strive to overcome sexism and class oppression but ignore race can discriminate against many people, including women, through racial bias; the National Black Feminist Organization was founded in 1973 by Florynce Kennedy, Margaret Sloan, Doris Wright, according to Wright it, "more than any other organization in the century launched a frontal assault on sexism and racism". The NBFO helped inspire the founding of the Boston-based organization the Combahee River Collective in 1974 which not only led the way for crucial antiracist activism in Boston through the decade, but provided a blueprint for Black feminism that still stands a quarter of a century later. Combahee member Barbara Smith’s definition of feminism that still remains a model today states that, "feminism is the political theory and practice to free all women: women of color, working-class women, poor women, physically challenged women, old women, as well as white economically privileged heterosexual women.
Anything less than this is not feminism, but female self-aggrandizement." The Combahee River Collective argued in 1974 that the liberation of black women entails freedom for all people, since it would require the end of racism and class oppression. One of the theories that evolved out of this movement was Alice Walker's womanism, it emerged after the early feminist movements that were led by white women, were white middle-class movements, had ignored oppression based on racism and classism. Alice Walker and other womanists pointed out that black women experienced a different and more intense kind of oppression from that of white women. Angela Davis was one of the first people who articulated an argument centered around the intersection of race and class in her book, Women and Class. Kimberle Crenshaw, a prominent feminist law theorist, gave the idea the name intersectionality in the late 1980s as part of her work in anti-discrimination law, as part of describing the effects of compound discrimination against black women.
Cultural feminism is the ideology of a "female nature" or "female essence" that attempts to revalidate what they consider undervalued female attributes. It emphasizes the difference between women and men but considers that difference to be psychologic
History of feminism
The history of feminism comprises the narratives of the movements and ideologies which have aimed at equal rights for women. While feminists around the world have differed in causes and intentions depending on time and country, most Western feminist historians assert that all movements that work to obtain women's rights should be considered feminist movements when they did not apply the term to themselves; some other historians limit the term "feminist" to the modern feminist movement and its progeny, use the label "protofeminist" to describe earlier movements. Modern Western feminist history is conventionally split into three time periods, or "waves", each with different aims based on prior progress: First-wave feminism of the 19th and early 20th centuries focused on overturning legal inequalities addressing issues of women's suffrage Second-wave feminism broadened debate to include cultural inequalities, gender norms, the role of women in society Third-wave feminism refers to diverse strains of feminist activity, seen both as a continuation of the second wave and as a response to its perceived failuresAlthough the "waves" construct has been used to describe the history of feminism, the concept has been criticized for ignoring and erasing the history between the "waves", by choosing to focus on a few famous figures and on popular events.
People and activists who discuss or advance women's equality prior to the existence of the feminist movement are sometimes labeled as protofeminist. Some scholars criticize this term because they believe it diminishes the importance of earlier contributions or that feminism does not have a single, linear history as implied by terms such as protofeminist or postfeminist. Around 24 centuries ago, according to Elaine Hoffman Baruch, " for the total political and sexual equality of women, advocating that they be members of his highest class... those who rule and fight". Italian-French writer Christine de Pizan, the author of The Book of the City of Ladies and Epître au Dieu d'Amour is cited by Simone de Beauvoir as the first woman to denounce misogyny and write about the relation of the sexes. Other early feminist writers include Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and Modesta di Pozzo di Forzi, who worked in the 16th century, the 17th-century writers Hannah Woolley in England, Juana Inés de la Cruz in Mexico, Marie Le Jars de Gournay, Anne Bradstreet, François Poullain de la Barre.
One of the most important 17th-century feminist writers in the English language was Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Her knowledge was recognized by some, such as proto-feminist Bathsua Makin, who wrote that "The present Dutchess of New-Castle, by her own Genius, rather than any timely Instruction, over-tops many grave Grown-Men," and considered her a prime example of what women could become through education; the Age of Enlightenment was characterized by secular intellectual reasoning and a flowering of philosophical writing. Many Enlightenment philosophers defended the rights of women, including Jeremy Bentham, Marquis de Condorcet, Mary Wollstonecraft. Other important writers of the time that expressed feminist views included Abigail Adams, Catharine Macaulay, Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht; the English utilitarian and classical liberal philosopher Jeremy Bentham said that it was the placing of women in a inferior position that made him choose the career of a reformist at the age of eleven.
Bentham spoke for complete equality between sexes including the rights to vote and to participate in government. He opposed the asymmetrical sexual moral standards between women. In his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Bentham condemned many countries' common practice to deny women's rights due to inferior minds. Bentham gave many examples of able female regents. Nicolas de Condorcet was a mathematician, classical liberal politician, leading French Revolutionary and Voltairean anti-clericalist, he was a fierce defender of human rights, including the equality of women and the abolition of slavery, unusual for the 1780s. He advocated for women's suffrage in the new government in 1790 with De l'admission des femmes au droit de cité and an article for Journal de la Société de 1789. Following de Condorcet's repeated, yet failed, appeals to the National Assembly in 1789 and 1790, Olympe de Gouges authored and published the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen in 1791.
This was another plea for the French Revolutionary government to recognize the natural and political rights of women. De Gouges wrote the Declaration in the prose of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen mimicking the failure of men to include more than a half of the French population in egalité. Though,the Declaration did not accomplish its goals, it did set a precedent for a manner in which feminists could satirize their governments for their failures in equality, seen in documents such as A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and A Declaration of Sentiments; the most cited feminist writer of the time was Mary Wollstonecraft characterized as the first feminist philosopher. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is one of the first works that can unambiguously be called feminist, although by modern standards her comparison of women to the nobility, the elite of society may at first seem dated as a feminist argument. Wollstonecraft identified th
Women's history is the study of the role that women have played in history and the methods required to do so. It includes the study of the history of the growth of woman's rights throughout recorded history, personal achievement over a period of time, the examination of individual and groups of women of historical significance, the effect that historical events have had on women. Inherent in the study of women's history is the belief that more traditional recordings of history have minimized or ignored the contributions of women to different fields and the effect that historical events had on women as a whole; the main centers of scholarship have been the United States and Britain, where second-wave feminist historians, influenced by the new approaches promoted by social history, led the way. As activists in women's liberation and analyzing the oppression and inequalities they experienced as women, they believed it imperative to learn about the lives of their fore mothers—and found little scholarship in print.
History was written by men and about men's activities in the public sphere in Africa—war, politics and administration. Women are excluded and, when mentioned, are portrayed in sex-stereotypical roles such as wives, mothers and mistresses; the study of history is value-laden in regard to what is considered "worthy." Other aspects of this area of study is the differences in women's lives caused by race, economic status, social status, various other aspects of society. Changes came in the 20th centuries. Women traditionally ran the household and reared the children, were nurses, wives, neighbours and teachers. During periods of war, women were drafted into the labor market to undertake work, traditionally restricted to men. Following the wars, they invariably lost their jobs in industry and had to return to domestic and service roles; the history of Scottish women in the late 19th century and early 20th century was not developed as a field of study until the 1980s. In addition, most work on women before 1700 has been published since 1980.
Several studies have taken a biographical approach, but other work has drawn on the insights from research elsewhere to examine such issues as work, religion and images of women. Scholars are uncovering women's voices in their letters, memoirs and court records; because of the late development of the field, much recent work has been recuperative, but the insights of gender history, both in other countries and in Scottish history after 1700, are being used to frame the questions that are asked. Future work should contribute both to a reinterpretation of the current narratives of Scottish history and to a deepening of the complexity of the history of women in late medieval and early modern Britain and Europe. In Ireland studies of women, gender relationships more had been rare before 1990. French historians have taken a unique approach: there has been an extensive scholarship in women's and gender history despite the lack of women's and gender study programs or departments at the university level.
But approaches used by other academics in the research of broadly based social histories have been applied to the field of women's history as well. The high level of research and publication in women's and gender history is due to the high interest within French society; the structural discrimination in academia against the subject of gender history in France is changing due to the increase in international studies following the formation of the European Union, more French scholars seeking appointments outside Europe. Before the 19th century, young women lived under the economic and disciplinary authority of their fathers until they married and passed under the control of their husbands. In order to secure a satisfactory marriage, a woman needed to bring a substantial dowry. In the wealthier families, daughters received their dowry from their families, whereas the poorer women needed to work in order to save their wages so as to improve their chances to wed. Under the German laws, women had property rights over their dowries and inheritances, a valuable benefit as high mortality rates resulted in successive marriages.
Before 1789, the majority of women lived confined to the home. The Age of Reason did not bring much more for women: men, including Enlightenment aficionados, believed that women were destined to be principally wives and mothers. Within the educated classes, there was the belief that women needed to be sufficiently educated to be intelligent and agreeable interlocutors to their husbands. However, the lower-class women were expected to be economically productive in order to help their husbands make ends meet. In the newly founded German State, women of all social classes were politically and disenfranchised; the code of social respectability confined upper class and bourgeois women to their homes. They were considered and economically inferior to their husbands; the unmarried women were ridiculed, the ones who wanted to avoid social descent could work as unpaid housekeepers living with relatives. A significant number of middle-class families became impoverished between 1871 and 1890 as the pace of industrial growth was uncertain, women had to earn money in secret by sewing or embroidery to contribute to the family income.
History of German women
History of German women covers gender roles and movements from medieval times to the present in German-speaking lands. From the early Medieval period and continuing through to the 18th century, Germanic law assigned women to a subordinate and dependent position relative to men. Salic law, from which the laws of the German lands would be based, placed women at a disadvantage with regard to property and inheritance rights. Germanic widows required a male guardian to represent them in court. Unlike Anglo-Saxon law or the Visigothic Code, Salic law barred women from royal succession. Social status was based on military and biological roles, a reality demonstrated in rituals associated with newborns, when female infants were given a lesser value than male infants; the use of physical force against wives was condoned until the 18th century in Bavarian law. Some women of means asserted their influence during the Middle Ages in royal court or convent settings. Hildegard of Bingen, Gertrude the Great, Elisabeth of Bavaria, Argula von Grumbach are among the women who pursued independent accomplishments in fields as diverse as medicine, music composition, religious writing, government and military politics.
The closure of monasteries by the Protestant Reformation, as well as the closure of other hospitals and charitable institutions, forced numerous women into marriage. While priests' concubines had received some degree of social acceptance, marriage did not remove the stigma of concubinage, nor could a wife claim the wage to which a female servant might be entitled. Marriages to Protestant clerics became a means for urban bourgeois families to establish their commitment to the Reformation. Before the 19th century, young women lived under the economic and disciplinary authority of their fathers until they married and passed under the control of their husbands. In order to secure a satisfactory marriage, a woman needed to bring a substantial dowry. In the wealthier families, daughters received their dowry from their families, whereas the poorer women needed to work in order to save their wages so as to improve their chances to wed. Under the German laws, women had property rights over their dowries and inheritances, a valuable benefit as high mortality rates resulted in successive marriages.
Before 1789, the majority of women lived confined to the home. The Age of Reason did not bring much more for women: men, including Enlightenment aficionados, believed that women were destined to be principally wives and mothers. Within the educated classes, there was the belief that women needed to be sufficiently educated to be intelligent and agreeable interlocutors to their husbands. However, the lower-class women were expected to be economically productive in order to help their husbands make ends meet. A major social change 1750-1850 Depending on region, was the end of the traditional whole house" system, in which the owner's family lived together in one large building with the servants and craftsmen he employed, they reorganized into separate living arrangements. No longer did the owner's wife take charge of all the females in the different families in the whole house. In the new system, farm owners became more profit-oriented, they managed the fields and the household exterior according to the dictates of technology and economics.
Farm wives supervised family care and the household interior, to which strict standards of cleanliness and thrift applied. The result was the spread of urban bourgeois values into rural Germany; the lesser families were now living separately on wages. They had to provide for their own supervision, health and old-age. At the same time, because of the demographic transition, there were far fewer children, allowing for much greater attention to each child; the middle-class family valued its privacy and its inward direction, Shedding two-close links with the world of work. Furthermore, the working classes, the middle classes and the upper classes became physically much more separate, became psychologically and politically much more separate; this allowed for the emergence of working-class organizations. It allowed for declining religiosity among the working-class who were no longer monitored on a daily basis; the era saw. It was a transition from high birth rates and high death rates to low birth and death rates as the country developed from a pre-industrial to a modernized agriculture and supported a fast-growing industrialized urban economic system.
In previous centuries, the shortage of land meant that not everyone could marry, marriages took place after age 25. After 1815, increased agricultural productivity meant a larger food supply, a decline in famines and malnutrition; this allowed couples to marry earlier, have more children. Arranged marriages became uncommon as young people were now allowed to choose their own marriage partners, subject to a veto by the parents; the high birthrate was offset by a high rate of infant mortality and emigration after about 1840 to the German settlements in the United States, plus periodic epidemics and harvest failures. The upper and middle classes began to practice birth control, a little so too did the peasants. Germany's unification process after 1871 was dominated by men and give priority to the "Fatherland" theme and related male issues, such as military prowess. Middle class women enrolled in the Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine, the Union of German Feminist Organizations. Founded in 1894, it grew to include 137 separate women's rights groups from 1907 until 1933, when the Nazi regime disbanded t
Anarcha-feminism called anarchist feminism, anarcho-feminism, and/or anarchx-feminism, combines anarchism with feminism. It views patriarchy and traditional gender roles as a manifestation of involuntary coercive hierarchy that should be replaced by decentralized free association, they believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class conflict and the anarchist struggle against the state and capitalism. In essence, the philosophy sees anarchist struggle as a necessary component of feminist struggle and vice versa. L. Susan Brown claims that "as anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power, it is inherently feminist". Contrary to popular belief and contemporary association with radical feminism, anarcha-feminism is not an inherently militant outlook, it is described to be an anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist, anti-oppressive philosophy, with the goal of creating an "equal ground" between all genders. The term "anarcha-feminism" suggests the social freedom and liberty of women, without needed dependence upon other groups or parties.
Mikhail Bakunin opposed patriarchy and the way the law " to the absolute domination of the man". He argued that "qual rights must belong to men and women" so that women could "become independent and be free to forge their own way of life". Bakunin foresaw the end of "the authoritarian juridical family" and "the full sexual freedom of women". On the other hand, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon viewed the family as the most basic unit of society and of his morality and believed that women had the responsibility of fulfilling a traditional role within the family. Since the 1860s, anarchism's radical critique of capitalism and the state has been combined with a critique of patriarchy. Anarcha-feminists thus start from the precept. Authoritarian traits and values—domination, exploitation and competition—are integral to hierarchical civilizations and are seen as "masculine". In contrast, non-authoritarian traits and values—cooperation, sharing and sensitivity—are regarded as "feminine" and devalued. Anarcha-feminists have thus espoused creation of a anarchist society.
They refer to the creation of a society based on cooperation and mutual aid as the "feminization of society". Anarcha-feminism began with late 19th and early 20th century authors and theorists such as anarchist feminists Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre and Lucy Parsons. In the Spanish Civil War, an anarcha-feminist group, Mujeres Libres, linked to the Federación Anarquista Ibérica, organized to defend both anarchist and feminist ideas. Stirnerist Nietzschean feminist Federica Montseny held that the "emancipation of women would lead to a quicker realization of the social revolution" and that "the revolution against sexism would have to come from intellectual and militant'future-women'". According to this Nietzschean concept of Federica Montseny's, women could "realize through art and literature the need to revise their own roles". In China, the anarcha-feminist He Zhen argued that without women's liberation society could not be liberated. In Argentina, Virginia Bolten is responsible for the publication of a newspaper called La Voz de la Mujer, published nine times in Rosario between January 8, 1896 and January 1, 1897 and was revived in 1901.
A similar paper with the same name was published in Montevideo, which suggests that Bolten may have founded and edited it after her deportation. La Voz de la Mujer described itself as "dedicated to the advancement of Communist Anarchism", its central theme was the multiple natures of women's oppression. An editorial asserted: "We believe that in present-day society and nobody has a more wretched situation than unfortunate women", they said that women were doubly oppressed by men. Its beliefs can be seen upon male power over women, its contributors, like anarchist feminists elsewhere, developed a concept of oppression that focused on gender. They saw marriage as a bourgeois institution which restricted women's freedom, including their sexual freedom. Marriages entered into without love, fidelity maintained through fear rather than desire and oppression of women by men they hated were all seen as symptomatic of the coercion implied by the marriage contract, it was this alienation of the individual's will that the anarchist feminists deplored and sought to remedy through free love and more through social revolution.
An important topic within individualist anarchism is free love. Free love advocates sometimes traced their roots back to Josiah Warren and to experimental communities, which viewed sexual freedom as a clear, direct expression of an individual's self-ownership. Free love stressed women's rights since most sexual laws discriminated against women, such as marriage laws and anti-birth control measures; the most important American free love journal was Lucifer the Lightbearer, edited by Moses Harman and Lois Waisbrooker. Ezra and Angela Heywood's The Word was published from 1872–1890 and in 1892–1893. M. E. Lazarus was an important American individualist anarchist who promoted free love. In Europe, the main propagandist of free love within individualist anarchism was Émile Armand, he proposed the concept of "la camaraderie amoureuse" to speak of free love as the possibility of voluntary sexual encounter between consenting adults. He was a consistent proponent of polyamory. In France, there was feminist activity inside French individualist anarchism as promoted by individualist feminists Marie Küge, Anna Mahé, Rirette Maîtrejean and Sophia Zaïkovska.
Women's suffrage in Wales
Women's suffrage in Wales has been marginalised due to the prominence of societies and political groups in England which led the reform for women throughout the United Kingdom. Due to differing social structures and a industrialised working-class society, the growth of a national movement in Wales grew but stuttered in the late nineteenth century in comparison with that of England. Distinct Welsh groups and individuals rose to prominence and were vocal in the rise of suffrage in Wales and the rest of Great Britain. In the early twentieth century, Welsh hopes of advancing the cause of female suffrage centred around the Liberal Party and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, one of the most important Welsh politicians of the day. After Liberal success in the 1906 Election failed to materialise into political change, suffragettes and in particular members of the more militant Women's Social and Political Union, took a hard line stance towards their Members of Parliament, engaging in direct action against them.
Militant action was not a hallmark of the movements in Wales and Welsh members, who more identified themselves as suffragists, sought Parliamentary and public support through political and peaceful means. In 1918, across the United Kingdom, women over the age of 30 gained the right to vote, followed by the Representation of the People Act 1928 which saw women gain the same rights to vote as men. Women were not explicitly banned from voting in Great Britain until the 1832 Reform Act and the 1835 Municipal Corporations Act. In England the suffrage movement existed before and after the 1832 act, but did not form a national organisation until the creation of the National Society for Women's Suffrage in 1872. Although there were notable exceptions such as the working-class areas of Lancashire, the women's suffrage movement in England was predominantly a middle-class movement. In Wales there were only two narrow bands of wealthy society in the Anglicised north and south coastal areas. Much of the female population of an emerging 19th century Wales was based in the low-waged, densely-populated, industrialised valleys of the south.
At first women found work in metalworking and coal extraction, but faced mass unemployment after the 1842 Mines and Collieries Act had prohibited them from working underground. The coal mining industry, with its absence of pithead baths, led to unpaid women's employment as the need to keep both their homes and the family's menfolk clean became a never ending task; this led to the image of the stoic Welsh Mam, a matriarch of the home, but little could be further from the truth in a society controlled by men. The increase of wealth created by the mining and metalworking industries saw the creation of new upper-class families who built their wealthy homes in the centre of the community from which they prospered. Whereas the pit and foundry owners were men, many of whom had political ambitions, their wives sought more charitable activities connected to improving the lives of the women and children of their husband's workers. In Dowlais, the heart of the ironworking industry of Wales, Rose Mary Crawshay, the well-to-do English-born wife of Robert Thompson Crawshay, passed her time in such charitable work.
She set up soup kitchens, gave to the poor and established no less than seven libraries in the area, but apart from this work, for which she would be expected to do, she was a staunch feminist. Living under the rule of a notoriously tyrannical husband, for whom she bore five children, she showed a strong-will and was known in feminist circles in London from the 1850s. In 1866 she and 25 other signatories, all based in Wales, signed the country's first women's Suffrage Petition. In June 1870, Rose Crawshay held a public meeting at her home the first in Wales to discuss women's suffrage, but she was taken to task by the local newspaper for disturbing the peace and leading Wales' women astray; the first suffrage tour of Welsh towns was conducted the following year by Jessie Craigen, who travelled the south of the country visiting Pontypool, Pembroke Dock, Neyland and Newport. On 4 March 1872, Mrs. Crawshay held a second meeting, in Merthyr Tydfill, which resulted in a new petition being delivered, the effect of which saw the signing of petitions from Glamorgan, Monmouthshire and Cardiganshire.
That year the Bristol & West of England Society for Women's Suffrage sent two of their members, Caroline Biggs and Lilias Ashworth, on a sponsored speaking tour of south Wales which took in Pontypool, Newport and Haverfordwest. Despite the actions of several prominent Welsh women, such as Lady Amberley and Miss Gertrude Jenner of Wenvoe, no real suffrage movements took hold in the 1870s and the country was reliant on speaking tours from members of English societies, predominantly from Bristol and Manchester. On 25 February 1881, Gertrude Jenner addressed a meeting held in Cardiff Town Hall to "consider means of promoting interest in Cardiff" towards female voting rights; this was a preliminary to a larger meeting, held on 9 March, attended by local dignitaries, Miss Jenner, Helen Blackburn and was chaired by the Mayor of Cardiff. Despite there being a great deal of suffrage activity in the lead up to the Third Reform Act of 1884, there was little campaigning in Wales during the early 1880s.
One act of significant importance that did occur during this period was the decision in late 1884 by the delegates of the Aberdare and Dowlais District Mine Association to support a series of talks by Jeanette Wilkinson on the right of women's votes. This is the first recorded instance of interest by Welsh working men supporting female suffrage; the publication of the Reform Acts of 1867 and