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Posts Tagged ‘women’s rights’

The University student movement was formed nationally in 1908 (ran until 1918) and an Aberdeen branch was operational in the same year. The Branch issued a magazine called ‘The Suffragette’ in 1908 which was a University Rectorial magazine supporting the candidature of Sir Edward Carson. The Secretary in 1913 was Miss Leitch.

References: University student directories.

Sources: magazine ‘The Suffragette’ (1908).

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The Association was led by Isabella Wilson Legge (wife of James Legge, stonemason and Chair of the Aberdeen Charter Union) and most of the members were mill workers. It campaigned for votes for women as well as men and was one of many similar organisations across the country. The Association issued a statement by the ‘Female Chartists of Aberdeen’ in 1841. Their meeting place was at the Temperance Hotel, 41 Queen Street.

References: Popular radicalism and working class movements in Aberdeen c.1790-1850 (Robert Emslie Duncan, University of Aberdeen thesis, 1976) and Aberdeen Women’s Alliance, City Centre Women’s Heritage Walk leaflet, 2014.

Sources: unknown.

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The National Council of Women of Great Britain was originally formed in 1895 as the National Union of Women Workers. It came out of the 1880s national movement of several women’s philanthropic organisations concerned about civil, educational, religious and social issues affecting women. A body which was part of this movement was the Aberdeen Ladies’ Union (originally called the Ladies’ Union for the Care and Protection of Women and Girls), founded in 1883. The Union had a key role in forming the Central Council of the Conferences of Women Workers in 1891, which was a precursor to the formation of the National Union. In 1897 the Ladies’ Union became the Aberdeen branch of the The National Union of Women Workers.

The Aberdeen Union of Women Workers was made-up of numerous affiliated organisations which worked with women and concerned itself with issues such as poverty, social reform, equal rights, family rights and also suffrage. The affiliated organisations had representatives on the Executive Committee: organisations such as the Aberdeen Clothing Society, Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Employment Exchange and the Aberdeen Women’s Citizen Association. In 1909 the Union worked with the Women’s Liberal Association, Primrose League, National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies to promote female representation on the school boards in Aberdeen and this included joint canvassing work for candidates.

The National Union of Women Workers changed its name to the National Council of Women of Great Britain in 1918. The Council is affiliated to the International Council of Women.

References: website and see below.

Sources: Aberdeen Union of Women Workers papers (1900 – 1926) and a few items as part of the Mary Esslemont papers (an Aberdeen physician) are held at University of Aberdeen Library. National records are held at London Metropolitan Archives.

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Christian Farquharson was born in Aberdeen in 1870 and trained as a teacher. She was active in socialist circles, taking part in a carter’s strike in 1897 and in 1900 she attended the International Socialist Congress in Paris, possibly as a delegate. She married fellow socialist Tom Kennedy (a future MP, he was from Aberdeenshire and was Social Democratic Federation (SDF) organiser in Aberdeen) and changed her name to Farquharson-Kennedy. She was a member of various groups, the SDF, the British Socialist Party, the Working Women’s Political Association and the Associated Women’s Friendly Society.

References:  website Mapping Memorials to Women in Scotland and a commemorative plaque in Aberdeen.

Sources: unknown

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Isabella Fyvie Mayo was born in London in 1843. Her family were originally from Aberdeen, and after being widowed, in 1878, she moved to Aberdeen, staying there until her death in 1914. She was first and foremost a published novelist writing under the pen-name Edward Garrett, yet she was also an activist involved in numerous causes.

She was founder member of the Aberdeen branch of the Anti-Vivisection League (1906), starting and editing an Aberdeen (later Scottish) newsletter called ‘Our Fellow Mortals’. In 1893 she co-founded an anti-racism organisation called the (later ‘International’) Society for the Recognition of the Brotherhood of Man (1893 – 1897). This Society was inaugurated in Aberdeen with meetings addressed by African-American Ida B. Wells on the lynching of blacks in America. Mayo was President and contributed to the management of the society’s organ ‘Fraternity’. The Aberdeen branch was very active and other individuals invited to Aberdeen included West Indian proto-anti-imperialist Celestine Edwards, African American ex-Senator J. Green and future pan-Africanist J.E. Casely-Hayford. She was also temporary Secretary of the Aberdeen Ladies’ Educational Association.

She spoke at meetings of the Aberdeen EIS, Aberdeen Trades Union Council, at a Stop-the-War meeting in 1900 and at Women’s Social and Political Union Suffrage meetings in 1907. She often took to the platform recruiting members to join unions, talking on socialism and anti-imperialism, and on one occasion chaired a concert in aid of striking operative engineers. She moved in political circles, being friends with William Diack of the Social Democratic Federation and various Aberdeen trades council members. In 1894 she was the first woman elected to the Aberdeen School Board and did so supported by the male working class Aberdeen Trades Union Council.

From the 1890s she promoted Leo Tolstoy who had begun to write on religious, ethical and political themes and she considered herself a Tolstoyan anarchist – seeking to promote social revolution through the peaceful process of personal reformation.

References:  ‘A notable personality’: Isabella Fyvie Mayo in the public and private sphere of Aberdeen (Lindy Moore, Women’s History Review, 2013) and Recollections of What I Saw, What I Lived Through, and What I Learned, during more than Fifty Years of Social and Literary Experience (Isabella Fyvie Mayo, London, 1910).

Sources: unknown

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The Grampian Regional Equality Council works to promote respect and combat discrimination for all people. At the end of the 1970s, Aberdeen welcomed Vietnamese families made refugees by the war in their country. It was realised that a support network was required and a committee of volunteers and representatives from local authorities and agencies was established. Over time, Grampian Community Relations Council came into being, then became Grampian Racial Equality Council and finally Grampian Regional Equality Council.

The organisation has led the way in promoting and campaigning for equality and diversity in the north-east of Scotland. The organisation also coordinates the North East Scotland Equalities Network (NESEN), formed in 2011, which aims to achieve equality in disability, gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion and belief, through a network of public bodies and the voluntary sector.

References: Website.

Sources: unknown.

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The Scarlet Women Group advertised in The Big Print in 1978, as a socialist forum group.

The Scarlet Women Group was a national collective set up in 1976, who split from the Woman’s Liberation Movement, and produced a publication called MSPRINT (which was the successor to Scottish Women’s Liberation Journal).

References: Aberdeen People’s Press The Big Print and Scottish feminist publication MSPRINT sourced on-line (1978).

Sources: unknown.

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