Women in Politics 1800 to 1866

Dr Sarah Richardson

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Letter from Helen Taylor to Barbara Bodichon, 9 May 1866 - LSE Library

In this podcast, Dr Sarah Richardson of the University of Warwick discusses women in politics in the 19th century. 

The overall theme is politics and women’s exercise of power before the franchise, focusing on activities in the early to mid-19th century leading up to the 1866 suffrage petition and the formation of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).

The podcast starts by looking at women’s role in early political and humanitarian campaigns, petitions and pressure groups such as the anti-slavery campaigns of the late 18th century. It goes on to look at the often-overlooked involvement of women in local government from the Early Modern period onward, and also explores the role of working-class women in politics, for example in the Chartist movement. Dr Richardson goes on to show how women were directly engaged with the institution of parliament in the run-up to the formal campaign for women's suffrage, and finally outlines the early suffrage campaigning leading up to the formation of the NUWSS.

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1. Women’s role in early campaigns and pressure groups
2. Women's involvement in local government
3. The involvement of working class women in politics
4. How women first start engaging directly with parliament
5. Early suffrage campaigning towards the formation of the NUWSS.

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