Women as Active Citizens: Glasgow and Edinburghc.1918–1939


Breitenbach E & Wright V (2014) Women as Active Citizens: Glasgow and Edinburghc.1918–1939. Women's History Review, 23 (3), pp. 401-420.

This article examines evidence of active political engagement by women in Edinburgh and Glasgow in the inter-war years of the twentieth century. While discussing the wider context of women's political activities in this period, in terms of party politics and the range of women's organisations in existence, it focuses in particular on Women Citizens’ Associations, Societies for Equal Citizenship and Co-operative Women's Guild branches. Comparing interventions by such women's organisations in the two cities around the selected themes of political representation, housing, ‘moral and social hygiene’, and contraception, the article demonstrates that women's organisations participated in public debates and campaigns to advance what they perceived as women's interests. Temporary alliances around issues such as the regulation of prostitution and provision of contraceptive advice brought together a range of women's organisations, but class differences in perspectives became increasingly apparent in this period, particularly in Glasgow. The issues addressed by women's organisations covered the spectrum of ‘equal rights’ and ‘welfare feminism’, although they did not necessarily identify as feminist. Common to all organisations, however, was a commitment to active citizenship, with women becoming a recognised part of local political networks in this period, although they remained poorly represented in parliament.

History; Gender Studies

Women's History Review: Volume 23, Issue 3

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date31/12/2014
Publication date online17/01/2014
Date accepted by journal17/01/2014
PublisherInforma UK Limited