Matthew C. Hendley
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Conservative women and the Primrose League’s struggle for survival, 1914–32
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The Primrose League is usually viewed as a crucial political vehicle for Conservative women during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. This chapter focuses on how the League re-made itself for its female members between 1914 and 1932. During the First World War the Primrose League was able to maintain itself in a challenging political environment by pursuing traditionally 'feminine' activities such as philanthropy and social functions. Although the League often commented on trade unions and assisted the Government during the General Strike, it felt it had a special role towards women who were seen as particularly vulnerable to socialist wiles. As an alternative to the dystopian horrors of socialism, the Primrose League articulated a new ethos of Empire which was distinctly sympathetic to the concerns of female voters. The vision of popular imperialism focused on consumption through Empire shopping and personal ties between Britain and self-governing Dominions through Empire Settlement.

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Rethinking right-wing women

Gender and the Conservative Party, 1880s to the present


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