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The Feminine Public SphereMiddle-Class Women in Civic Life in Scotland, C.1870–1914$
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Megan Smitley

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719079665

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719079665.001.0001

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The organisations

The organisations

(p.19) 1 The organisations
The Feminine Public Sphere

Megan Smitley

Manchester University Press

This chapter revolves around the core context of female public sphere. Female associationalism was the starting point for many middle-class women's public lives. Reforming organisations such as constitutional suffrage societies, temperance unions and Women's Liberal Associations (WLAs) provide more well-to-do women with opportunities to actively engage in the important social and political issues of their day. In Glasgow and Edinburgh, cross-membership knitted together women's organisations, imparting a multi-issue reform programme to a range of women's groups. These organisations, though part of international reforming efforts to enhance women's clout in public affairs, are rooted in local civic life. While it is shown that male associational life and civic involvement were marked by cross-membership within the local sphere, evidence from these organisations suggests a similar pattern among more elite urban women active in the feminine public sphere.

Keywords:   female associationalism, civic life, organisation, political issues, reforming efforts

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