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Gender and the Conservative Party, 1880s to the present

Historians and political scientists have deemed the twentieth century 'the Conservative Century', owing to the electoral and cultural dominance of the Conservative Party in Britain. This book traces the relationship among women, gender and the Conservative Party from the 1880s to the present, and thereby seeks to fill that gap. 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. The suffragette Christabel Pankhurst, was regarded as a charismatic, radical figure, who was the co-leader of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), a notorious suffrage organization campaigning for the parliamentary vote for women in Edwardian Britain. In 1928 Lady Iveagh, Vice-Chairman of the National Union of Conservative Associations (NUCA), claimed that one million women were members of the Conservative Party. The book focuses on how the Primrose League re-made itself for its female members between 1914 and 1932. It shows that the Conservative Party leadership and male candidates were keen to present themselves as the champions of home interests, playing up their family-man credentials against their rowdy electoral culture of Labour. The book also examines inquires how the deliberate choice of middlebrow rhetoric as well as the language of citizenship enabled Conservative women to construct a cross-class language of democracy. It explores British conservatism, highlighting the history of the Tory Party as part of the study of women and their sectional interest in 'the politics of gender'.

Female unionism and conservatism, 1886–1914
Diane Urquhart

1 ‘Open the eyes of England’: female unionism and conservatism, 1886–19141 Diane Urquhart 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. Women could, and did, influence the voting practices of men and female political writings were commonplace, although they frequently obscured their identity by the means of pseudonyms or anonymity which raises the question of gendered

in Rethinking right-wing women
David Thackeray

going into khaki during the early stages of the conflict.12 Unionist Party constituency associations also lost many of their supporters to the war effort and met rarely during the conflict.13 By contrast, female Unionism remained a relatively coherent force; women formed the backbone of many patriotic voluntary organisations established to aid the war effort. The First World War played an important role in remoulding the identity of British Unionism and enabling it to develop a wider appeal than it had experienced before 1914. Unionists increasingly came to distance

in Conservatism for the democratic age