In 1918, David Lloyd George's post-war government passed the Representation of the People Act, and for the first time women were included in the political process. Women now accounted for nearly 50 per cent of the electorate, but universal suffrage was a long way off, and women still had to face censure and discrimination in their professional and personal lives.
Thankfully, those who had fought for women's rights in the suffrage movement did not give up, and continued their work tirelessly to improve the lives of women and provide them with opportunities they otherwise would not have had, some for a further forty years.
In this book, Mavis Curtis explores the work of eight such women who helped to promote the cause of women's rights and social equality: Eleanor Rathbone, Ellen Wilkinson, Maude Royden, Dr Isabel Emslie Hutton, Margaret Llewellyn Davies, Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Lodge and Helena Deneke. All reflect in their personal experiences the changes to women's lives and feminism during the twentieth century.
With the centenary of the Act in 2018, this book brings to light for the women and men of today the names of some of those who paved the way for further equality in society.
Mavis Curtis spent her career in primary teaching and social work and is now retired. She has a PhD from the University of Sheffield and has contributed to numerous books, journals and magazines, including The Lore of the Playground (Random House), a social history of children's games. During research on the WI in 2012 for the Oxford Times, she was overwhelmed by the friendliness of the people she met. She is now a new and very enthusiastic recruit. She lives in Oxfordshire.