Newby McCabe: “Political activism between ‘dinner and tea’: Labour women and the problem of participation.”

In Students by General Account

I am interested in the experience of political activism in the interwar period in general and
the role gender played in this in particular. My study considers the role of newly
enfranchised women in the early Labour Party – from when they were first admitted as
formal members in 1918 to the party’s eventual electoral landslide of 1945.

This research will illustrate the specific experience of this period, the reasons women chose to participate, the benefits they wished to receive and the achievements they made. At the same time, it will address wider questions about the incentives of party membership and political activism. It is often said interwar Labour women were unable to achieve much in the limited space available to them. This study asks why they chose to do so – historicising their experience, reflecting their achievements and considering the individual benefits of membership in the interwar period and today.