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Rethinking Right-Wing WomenGender and the Conservative Party, 1880s To the Present$
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Clarisse Berthezéne and Julie Gottlieb

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781784994389

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784994389.001.0001

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Christabel Pankhurst: a Conservative suffragette?

Christabel Pankhurst: a Conservative suffragette?

Chapter:
(p.29) 2 Christabel Pankhurst: a Conservative suffragette?
Source:
Rethinking Right-Wing Women
Author(s):

June Purvis

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781784994389.003.0003

This chapter explores the commonly stated claim that Christabel Pankhurst was a Conservative. The claim, made by her socialist-feminist sister Sylvia in her influential book The suffragette movement, first published in 1931, has become part of the dominant narrative about the suffragette movement in Edwardian Britain. Such a claim is challenged and an alternative interpretation offered. It is suggested that we should see Christabel Pankhurst as a pioneer to what in the 1970s became known as ‘radical feminism’. For Christabel the subordinate position of women in Edwardian society was due to the power that men, including socialist men, exercised over women. She saw the struggle for the enfranchisement of women as a ‘sex war’ rather than a class struggle.

Keywords:   The Pankhursts, Suffragette movement, Votes for women

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