This paper will look at political life in Britain after the Representation of the People Act (1918) and the changing roles of women in politics. It suggests that through the study of political wives (and husbands) we can see how political parties sought to accommodate gender into public life. It will analyse the previous ways that women had been incorporated into politics through their marriage, and argue that there were significant changes post suffrage – namely that political wives could now stand in elections themselves and that being a political spouse was no longer a role restricted to women. The final part of the paper will analyse some of the ‘alternative intimacies’ that were formed for those who were not married and the relationships that aided them in their political careers.
Ellie Lowe is in the final stages of a PhD at the University of Cambridge. Her thesis looks at love and marriage in Labour and Conservative party cultures 1918-1970.
this seminar is free to attend
, but advance booking is required