Rebel Girls: How Votes for Women Changed Edwardian Lives

Alison Light writes:

This is perhaps the first book to recognise that an entire generation of young women, born between 1881 and 1891, grew up with ‘Votes for Women’ ringing in their ears. Membership of the different suffrage associations was by no means hard and fast. ‘Community suffragettes’ might well give up on peaceful protest and take radical action when sufficiently frustrated with the government. Factory workers were suffragettes and hunger-strikers, but so too were housekeepers, typists, shop assistants and teachers, as Liddington’s scrutiny of charge sheets reveals. Many of the fifty or so women in Liddington’s impressive biographical appendix are newcomers to suffrage history. A few, such as Leonora Cohen, who lived to 105, were rediscovered by the women’s movement in the 1970s. But mostly Liddington has started from scratch, scouring local record offices and libraries, trawling through newspapers and the literature of the suffrage societies, poring over court cases and Home Office files.

(LRB 25 January 2007)

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