Politician, Eleanor Rathbone

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Today we're talking about one of the first female members of the British Parliament who used her position to push for gender equal legislation. Please welcome Eleanor Rathbone Eleanor was born in London on May. Twelfth Eighteen, seventy two. From a young age, she grew up in the world of politics. Her Father William was a liberal member of parliament. And often entertained other politicians and intellectuals. In eighteen ninety, three at the age of twenty one. Eleanor. Left home to study at Somerville College Oxford. There, she studied classics and was allegedly nicknamed the philosopher by her peers. When Eleanor realized that her college refused to give degrees to female students, she took matters into her own hands. He joined a group of women called the steamboat ladies who sailed to Dublin. To get honorary degrees from Trinity College. After graduating eleanor worked alongside her father investigating the working conditions of Industrial Liverpool. After his death eleanor continued her work in the city she volunteered for the Liverpool central relief, society where she dedicated her time to helping families in poverty, improve and change their living conditions in the eighteen nineties. Eleanor became a supporter of the women's rights movement, which she saw as integral to widespread social reform. Eighteen ninety five, she was appointed secretary at the Liverpool Women's suffrage society as well as the women's Industrial Council. Eleanor didn't agree with radical tactics to promote women's suffrage and instead pushed a more moderate approach in nineteen. Oh six, the Liverpool City Council Open. It's elective positions. Two women in nineteen o nine eleanor ran and was elected as an independent candidate a position she held until nineteen, thirty five. In nineteen thirteen, she co founded the Liverpool Women Citizens Organization to promote the involvement of women in politics. When World War One broke out eleanor organized association to help wives and other dependents. She continued that work when soldiers returned home, she saw mothers were struggling to provide for families and advocated for the installment of a family wage system. This method would pay family allowances directly to mothers, helping them to support their children and simultaneously fighting against the notion that men had to be the breadwinners. In nineteen eighteen at the end of World War, one British women over the age of thirty. Got The right to vote that same year eleanor established the nineteen eighteen club the following year eleanor became president of the National Union of Women's suffrage societies. And renamed it the National Union of Societies for equal citizenship in Nineteen, twenty, two eleanor ran for British parliament. She lost that year but was elected in nineteen twenty nine as an independent member for the combined English universities. She was one of the first women to hold a position in parliament. There Eleanor continued her lifelong activism in her first speech. She criticized British colonial ISM, and it's anti-feminism. She specifically called out the inhumane practice of female genital mutilation in Kenya. As. The Great Depression loomed she campaigned for the People's rights to cheaper milk and better benefits for dependents of the unemployed. Eleanor was also one of the first politicians to warn of the danger of fascist uprisings across Europe. She spoke candidly about her disappointment in British neutrality concerning politics in Germany Spain Italy and Czechoslovakia. She joined a nonsectarian anti-nazi council to support human rights and set up a parliamentary committee that took up individual refugee cases throughout the war at one point eleanor allegedly tried to charter a ship to cross the blockade of Spain Rescue Republicans from the country. Later, in the early nineteen forties, eleanor devoted resources to get an Jewish people out of Poland. In nineteen forty-five eleanor finally saw her fight for family allowances put into law by the Labor Party with the Family Allowance Act. However it was initially passed on the stipulation the allowance be paid to fathers rather than the mother she fought for. Eleanor's rage was short-lived. The bill was contested by many women in parliament and was amended within the year to be paid to mothers. Eleanor died suddenly of a heart attack on January second nineteen forty-six. Forty years later, a blue plaque is dedicated to her by the Greater London Council at her former residents. It calls her the pioneer of family allowances. She was also honored along with fifty eight other women's suffrage supporters on the plinth of the statue commemorating fellow suffragettes leader millicent falls it in London twenty? Eighteen.

Coming up next