We are delighted to announce a new article by Krista Cowman in the long needed ‘go to’ collection on Nancy Astor that is now live at the Open Library of Humanities. The Special Collection is edited by Dr Daniel Grey (University of Hertfordshire) and Dr Jacqui Turner (University of Reading). Daniel Grey is Head of History at Hertfordshire and has published extensively on women, crime and the state. Jacqui Turner is Associate Professor of Modern British Political History and curator of the national Astor100 centenary programme.
Articles will be added on an ongoing basis – keep an eye on this space and the list of articles and abstracts below.
2019 marked the centenary of Nancy Astor’s election to the British Parliament becoming the first woman to take her seat and thus changing democracy forever. Astor was ‘An Unconventional MP’ and this collection considers the parliamentary politics and the gendered culture of the early C20th in which she operated. It engages with ways in which history has influenced the present, conceptualising a ‘future’ grounded in the gendered restrictions of the past. It considers how the identities of Astor and other women were constructed and deployed and how her career has generated gendered discourses on government, citizenship and transformation. This special collection is eclectic in its contributors and contributions; articles address a range of approaches to Astor and her period – new perspectives on Astor, and beyond engagement with Astor as an individual, consideration of issues of gender identity, difference and representation. They provide a new voice and a new legacy.
Collection launched: 06 Jul 2020
06/10/2020: Krista Cowman, ‘A Matter of Public Interest: Press Coverage of the Outfits of Women MPs 1918–1930’ here
21/09/2020: Helen Glew, ‘In a Minority in Male Spaces: The Networks, Relationships and Collaborations between Women MPs and Women Civil Servants, 1919–1955’ here
Abstract: This article outlines the relationships developed between women civil servants and women MPs between 1919 and 1955. It demonstrates the various ways in which a considerable number of women MPs supported efforts by women civil servants to achieve equal employment conditions with men. Arguing for the importance of networks and organisations embedded in the women’s movement, this article contributes new dimensions to our understanding of both the work of women MPs and the operation of interwar feminist campaigning.
How to Cite: Glew, H., 2020. In a Minority in Male Spaces: The Networks, Relationships and Collaborations between Women MPs and Women Civil Servants, 1919–1955. Open Library of Humanities, 6(2), p.15. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/olh.597
21/09/2020: Esther Breitenbach, ‘Scottish Women and Political Representation in the UK and Scottish Parliaments (1918–2020)’ here
Abstract: This article reviews the record of Scottish women’s representation in the UK Parliament since 1918, and in the Scottish Parliament since 1999. Women candidates have stood for election to Westminster at every General Election since 1918, with the first Scottish woman MP being elected in 1923. Subsequently, there have always been women MPs representing Scottish constituencies, with the number increasing in 1997, as elsewhere in the UK. The Scottish Parliament, created in 1999, has consistently seen a higher level of representation of women than that achieved for Scottish MPs at Westminster. The article examines political parties’ track records in promoting women candidates, and comments on the careers of women politicians. The article argues that the increase in women’s representation in recent decades is attributable to the efforts of women activists, and to the specific strategies adopted by parties to achieve this. It also argues that the Scottish Parliament has significantly extended opportunities for women to participate in political decision-making and in policy-making.
How to Cite: Breitenbach, E., 2020. Scottish Women and Political Representation in the UK and Scottish Parliaments (1918–2020). Open Library of Humanities, 6(2), p.14. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/olh.579
14/09/2020: Mari Takayanagi, ‘Astor the Fairy Godmother: The Intoxicating Liquor Act 1923’here
11/09/2020: Lisa Berry-Waite, ‘I Stuck to Plymouth, Plymouth Stuck to Me’: Nancy Astor, Electioneering and Female Parliamentary Candidacy’ here
31/08/2020: Dr Anne Logan, ‘MP and/or JP: An Examination of the Public Work of Selected Women during the Early Years of Women’s Enfranchisement (c.1920–1931)’ here
Abstract: The 1919 Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act became law only a year after the first election in which women were able to vote and stand as Members of Parliament (MPs). Among its other provisions, this legislation allowed women to become Justices of the Peace (JPs) for the first time. In December 1919, the Lord Chancellor convened a committee of advisors (the Crewe Committee) drawn from different parts of the United Kingdom and the various political parties, and in 1920 the appointment of the first large group of women to become JPs was announced. Among the early women JPs were several individuals who also feature in the list of the country’s first women MPs, and some others who stood unsuccessfully for parliament. This article concentrates on the careers of a few of these women in public and political service, with particular focus on their engagement with criminal justice reform and connections to the women’s movement. It considers examples both of women who were successful in becoming MPs, and those who were not. Among the issues considered will be the extent of these individuals’ interest in the political and judicial aspects of their work and an assessment of their extra-parliamentary careers. This paper concludes that women could and did lead important and satisfying political lives outside as well as inside the House of Commons.
01/07/2020: Professor Pat Thane, ‘Nancy Astor, Women and Politics, 1919–1945′ here