Binding women together in friendship and unity? Mary Macarthur and the woman worker, September 1907 to May 1908

Cathy Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article examines the ethos and rationale of The Woman Worker, launched in Britain in September 1907 as the official organ of the all-female trade union, the National Federation of Women Workers (the Federation). As a monthly journal, it was edited and managed by Mary Macarthur, President of the Federation, moving to weekly production in June 1908 with the assistance of Robert Blatchford, founder of the successful socialist newspaper, The Clarion. Under Macarthur, the paper emphasised both the importance of union organisation for women workers and the need for parliamentary legislation to protect them from low pay, victimisation and exploitation in the workplace. It is argued here that although this paper sought to fill a gap in the market, producing a paper that appealed beyond those already converted to the cause of women's organisation was a difficult challenge for Macarthur. Her attempts to provide a readable but didactic paper on a limited budget, relying on Labour colleagues for copy, resulted in a paper that did not always have a clear target readership; it was a union journal seeking broad appeal amongst working-class women but it also reflected the interests of committed labour activists. This arguably resulted in a paper that struggled to achieve its initial aim of binding women workers together.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
JournalMedia History
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2013

Keywords

  • Mary Macarthur
  • National Federation of Women Workers
  • The Woman Worker
  • Women's Trade Union League
  • women's trade unionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • History

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