There is still much uncertainty about the role of nineteenth-century British women in social and political protest. As politics was a man’s world virtually all official accounts and statistics of popular protest deal only with the men involved. It is well known that women participated in food riots and mobilised support for Chartism, and as the dramatic changes in the economy during this period greatly increased the demand for women’s labour, this stimulated their widespread involvement in political and social agitation, particularly the parliamentary reform movement of 1819.
First published in 1982, this book provides a descriptive account of the part played by women – mainly working class women – in a variety of social and political activities that can broadly be categorised as protest. It establishes the basic outlines and offers an interpretation of the course of events.
1. Women’s Work and Women’s Protest, 1800-1850 2. Women in Food Riots 3. Women in Social Protest 4. Women in Industrial Protest 5. 'Petticoat Reformers' 6. Chartist Women 7. Postscript: Rebecca and Her Sisters