Helping working class women have a voice

Esther and Eva dedicated themselves to fighting for working class women’s rights, and championing the votes for women cause.

Esther and Eva set up trade unions for women textile workers. They also helped groups of female workers to organise campaigns and demonstrations when their livelihoods were threatened – including coal pit women, flower sellers, circus performers & gymnasts. Moral crusaders and politicians were trying to treat these women workers as if they were children, unable to make decisions about their own welfare.

Esther later described their campaigning work:

“At one time we might be in London, pressing our claims on governments and politicians. At another, travelling up and down the country speaking indoors and out, at street corners and in market squares.”

“Young women of the present day are far better equipped for social and economic work that we were, but they will never have more thrilling experiences than we had in those old fights – which perhaps I may modestly remind you, we generally won.”

From 1906 Esther & Eva distanced themselves from Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union. They disagreed with the use of militant tactics and Emmeline Pankhurst’s lack of interest in campaigning for working class women’s rights.

Esther & Eva letter to the Manchester Guardian published Nov 6, 1906. P 4. They describe a peaceful votes-for-women demonstration they'd organised in Trafalgar Square & highlight they have no connection with the Pankhurst's WSPU.

Esther & Eva letter to the Manchester Guardian published Nov 6, 1906. P 4. They describe a peaceful votes-for-women demonstration they’d organised in Trafalgar Square & highlight they have no connection with the Pankhurst’s WSPU.

Next: Barmaids Defence League demo in Northern Quarter

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