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Archive & Study Centre

Item of the Month – April 2013

Labour Woman 1913-1971

Labour Woman was the Labour Party’s women magazine for 58 years. Starting just prior to World War I it was closed down following the Labour Party’s defeat at the 1970 general election.

The magazine began by covering the fight for the extension of the voting franchise to women, a fight that was partly won in 1918 and finally realised in 1928. The magazine’s final campaign was against the abolition of free school milk by the education minister Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) in 1970/71, and it was involved in every general election and significant political campaign in between.

However it was far more than a simple campaigning focus for women both in and outside the Labour Party. It operated and campaigned at a level wider and deeper than just aiming at the introduction of legislation, as important as that was. Perhaps a quote from its final editorial in September 1971 concerning women’s’ access to education, employment and promotion etc will help to illustrate:

“unequal access arises from deeply entrenched attitudes – attitudes instilled into men and women, employers and employees, teachers and pupils, parents and children”.

Its primary aim over the years was to help change wider social attitudes towards what were seen as women’s roles in society.

Other magazine content concentrated on domestic issues including articles on books to read relating to good housekeeping practice, recipes, knitting patterns and advertisements for food.

The archive has a complete set of Labour Woman available to view.