When The Women’s Organisation opened the doors of our new building in The Baltic Triangle district of Liverpool, we were keen to show the influence that iconic women of history have had on the organisation. Each room at 54 St James Street has been carefully named after an inspiring woman who made her mark in history, and one of these women, is Eleanor Rathbone, a long-term campaigner of for women’s rights and a member of parliament.
During January to May in 2016, a programme of events will be taking place across Liverpool to commemorate Eleanor Rathbone and to mark the 70th anniversary of her death…
Eleanor Rathbone was born in London and educated at home before entering Somerville College, Oxford in 1893. At University Rathbone became involved in the struggle to obtain women the vote and eventually became a leading figure in the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).
After leaving university with a degree in philosophy, Rathbone became secretary of the Women’s Industrial Council in Liverpool and was very involved in the organisation’s campaign against low pay and poor working conditions. In 1909 she became the first woman to be elected to Liverpool City Council and over the next few years argued for improved housing in the city.
On the resignation of Millicent Fawcett in 1919, Rathbone became president of the NUWSS. During the Second World War, Rathbone continued to campaign for family allowances and in 1940, published ‘The Case for Family Allowances’, this became the policy of The Labour Party and her family allowances system was introduced.
If you would like to find out more about the incredible work that Eleanor Rathbone achieved throughout her life, then be sure to pop into an exhibition or attend a talk that will be happening over the next six months!
The Making of Women: The Life and Campaigns of Eleanor Rathbone, 1872-1946
When: Early January to end of March 2016
Where: Liverpool Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EW
Utopia Calling: Remembering Eleanor Rathbone
What: Exhibition of items from the Rathbone archive at the University of Liverpool’s Special Collections and Archives
When: Friday 8th January – Monday 11th January 2016
Where: Sydney Jones Library, Chatham Street, Liverpool, L69 3DA
A Life of Action: Eleanor Rathbone (1872-1946), Liverpool’s Unsung Heroine
What: A Roscoe Lecture by Dr Susan Cohen
When: Thursday 14th January
Where: St George’s Hall, Liverpool
To book, go to: www.roscoelectures.eventbrite.com