Written by MEP and authoritative spokesperson on women’s rights and gender equality Mary Honeyball, the book tells the story of the issues these first MPs championed, the challenges they faced and the lives they led. This doughty group of women, tough and individualistic as they all were, maintained their independence both in their politics and in their personal lives.
The election of Labour women to the House of Commons meant that females representing the working classes now joined their male counterparts in articulating Labour concerns in Parliament, still very much a bastion of Edwardian wealth and privilege. The hallowed Chamber regularly echoed with voices that cared passionately about social issues, issues guaranteed to upset the resident delicate gentlemen not used to such talk. Told through the prism of key contemporary issues, such as working-class women’s fight for birth control in the 1920s and 30s, this book brings to life the little known history of these first Labour women to sit in the House of Commons.
Fair representation for women at Westminster has proved to be a long haul. It was not until the Labour landslide of 1997 that over 100 Labour women were returned to the House of Commons – much is owed to the original Parliamentary Pioneers.
Mary Honeyball has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2000. She is Labour spokesperson on the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee. Mary has been a prolific writer for political journals and newspapers, including Total Politics, Guardian Comment is Free, European Voice, European Reporter, New Statesman and Tribune. She frequently appears on radio and television including the Today Programme, Newsnight, Woman’s Hour, The Politics Show, BBC London, and both Iain Dale’s and Ken Livingstone’s LBC Shows. In addition, she runs her successful blog The Honeyball Buzz.
Parliamentary Pioneers will be released on March 4th 2015.
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