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Voters & Volunteers conference, 12 Nov 2016

The First World War led, temporarily at least, to shifts in the lives and expectations of women on the Home Front. Whilst there has been much attention given to women who worked during the conflict, the majority of women who remained in the domestic sphere, have received less attention, although they were far from idle.

This conference explored the new spheres available to domestic women as a result of the growth of women’s organisations in WW1 and its aftermath. In so doing it will contribute to the on-going debates over the significance of WW1 as an agent of social change for women, from which domestic women have been largely excluded.

Voluntary organisations, such as the newly established Women’s Institutes, enabled women both to organise each other for the war effort, and to be represented on local government boards, such as Food Control Committees, and those of a wide range of charitable or educational organisations.

PAPERS included:

  • ‘Creating a Transatlantic Authority: A Canadian Woman in London, 1914-1918’ – Dr Elizabeth Kirkland, Dawson College, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • ‘Fundraisers and Tea-Makers: The pre- and post-war roles of Glasgow Orangewomen’ – Dr Deborah Butcher, University of Glasgow
  • ‘Rural women, volunteer networks and the politics of food production during the First World War: The Women’s War Agricultural Committees’ – Dr Nicola Verdon, Sheffield Hallam University
  • ‘The First World War background of Devon’s early women magistrates, with particular reference to service within the Devonshire Red Cross’ – Dr Julia Neville, Exeter University
  • ‘To represent all the women of the city: Catharine Albright and the Birmingham Community Club’ – Dr Siȃn Roberts, University of Worcester
  • ‘Voters and the Voteless: The 1918 franchise and working-class women in Birmingham’ – Anna Muggeridge, University of Worcester
  • ‘Women and Lancashire Conservatism between the Wars’ – Dr Neil Fleming, University of Worcester
  • ‘Women and the Brave New World of Communal Dining, 1917-1919’ – Dr Bryce Evans, Liverpool Hope University
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