Diane Urquhart
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‘Open the eyes of England’
Female unionism and conservatism, 1886–1914
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Women were often active agents of change. Their involvement in elections, political protests and petitioning pre-dated the establishment of formal women's political associations in the 1880s and partial female enfranchisement in 1918. A gender inclusive approach allows for a more nuanced understanding of political machinations, power and the unprecedented popularity of both conservatism and unionism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From 1885 to 1911, Unionist campaign focused on Britain as many believed that home rule would be defeated at Westminster. Independent of the Liberal Unionist fold, the Ladies' Committee of the indigenous Irish Unionist Alliance had a central office in Dublin in the 1890s and small local female Unionist associations were active in Ulster in the early twentieth century. The delayed third home rule bill of 1912 passed in 1914, but was immediately suspended for the duration of the war with special treatment promised for Ulster.

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Rethinking right-wing women

Gender and the Conservative Party, 1880s to the present


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