Ellen Wilkinson: From Red Suffragist to Government Minister by Paula Bartley

By Paula Bartley

Ellen Wilkinson was once a key radical determine within the twentieth century British socialist and feminist flow, a lady of passionate strength who was once serious about many of the significant struggles of her time.

Born in October 1891 right into a working-class cloth kin, Wilkinson used to be fascinated by women's suffrage, helped chanced on the British Communist get together, led the Labour Party's anti-fascist crusade, headed the enduring Jarrow campaign and used to be the 1st woman Minister of Education.

In this vigorous and fascinating biography, Paula Bartley charts the political lifetime of this awesome campaigner who went from road agitator to executive minister while preserving her ideas intact.

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Extra info for Ellen Wilkinson: From Red Suffragist to Government Minister (Revolutionary Lives)

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Feminism and Socialism Ellen Wilkinson and Nancy Astor became friends and together they made a formidable team. What is striking is the way in which the two, and indeed women MPs in general, worked closely with feminist groups outside Parliament and became willing to be the Parliamentary spokeswomen for feminist reform. Both Wilkinson and Astor cared passionately about the rights of women and established links that cut across party lines. They were said to share two traits, ‘a booming voice and the ability to annoy the male members of the Commons’.

62 In 1927, she was still writing to ‘Comrade Dutt’ offering to help find finance for his beleaguered Labour Monthly. Ellen may have been a revolutionary communist but at heart she embraced any organisation which promoted women’s equality regardless of its political affiliations. In 1921 she became a member of the Six Point Group, a group founded by Lady Rhondda to press for changes in the law. In 1918, women over the age of 30 gained the vote but the Six Point Group wanted the vote on the same terms as men; that is, over the age of 21.

Later, Ellen too changed her mind – twice: in 1938 she was against family allowances; by 1945 she supported them once more. Protective legislation, that is laws which reduced the hours worked by women and children, was another controversial question for both feminists and socialists. Some Labour Women disliked protective laws because they feared that if women and children were treated as special cases it would damage their chances of equality. Others, like Ellen, believed that women needed all the protection they could get.

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