This fascinating new study examines the experiences of women involved in the socialist movement during its formative years in Britain and the active role they played in campaigning for the vote. By giving full attention to this much-neglected group of women, Socialist Women examines and challenges the orthodox views of labour and suffrage history.
Torn between competing loyalties of gender, class and politics, socialist women did not have a fixed identity but a number of contested identities. June Hannam and Karen Hunt probe issues that created divisions between these women, as well as giving them the opportunity to act together. In three fascinating case studies they explore:
* women's suffrage
* women and internationalism
* the politics of consumption.
Believing above all that being a woman was vital to their politics, these individuals sought to develop a woman-focused theory of socialism and to put this new politics into practice.
Acknowledgements Abbreviations Introduction 1. Socialist Women: On the margins of history 2. Biographies and Political Journeys 3. Constructing the Woman question 4. Mixed sex-politics 5. Socialist Women and a politics of consumption 7. Socialist Women and Internationalism Conclusion