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Women’s engagement in politics and public life in the Black Country, 1914-1951

Muggeridge, Anna (2021) Women’s engagement in politics and public life in the Black Country, 1914-1951. PhD thesis, University of Worcester.

Text (PhD Thesis)
A Muggeridge thesis minor amendments June 2021.pdf - Submitted Version

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This thesis is about the ways in which Black Country women engaged in and with politics, and how this changed in the years following their enfranchisement. It seeks to engage with debates surrounding the impact of the vote on women’s lives, and argues that, during the period from 1914 to 1951,
women in this area were able to engage politics and public life in through what is termed a ‘practical politics’. Their political activity took place in the towns and communities in which they lived. Their activism was locally-focused, pragmatic, and centred around providing solutions to specific problems.
This highly localised, practical form of politics enabled ordinary women from the Black Country, who were not part of national women’s organisations in this period, to engage in public life there. The thesis examines four potential spheres of activity through which women were increasingly able to do so: parliamentary politics, non-partisan housewives’ associations, voluntary health organisations, and local government. It argues that, although there is little suggestion from the Black Country that women were politicised by general elections, there is significant evidence that ordinary women in this area were able to engage in politics and public life through this ‘practical politics’ in these three other spheres of activity. The thesis draws upon archival evidence from organisations and structures which worked exclusively within the Black Country, alongside local newspapers, to argue that across the period as a whole, a greater number of women, from more socially diverse backgrounds, were able to engage in public life locally, though their engagement was generally limited to just the one sphere of activity. This thesis therefore suggests that, to fully understand the vibrance and diversity of the post suffrage women’s movement in Britain, it is necessary to refocus on the local, and the organisations working within communities and neighbourhoods, through which ordinary women were able to engage in public life.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the University’s
requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
June 2021, University of Worcester, Department of History, Politics and Sociology.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: history, women, politics, Black Country
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Anna Muggeridge
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2021 08:32
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2022 01:00

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