The women’s movement and female temperance reform

Megan Smitley

in The Feminine Public Sphere

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780719079665
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703069 | DOI:
The women’s movement and female temperance reform

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This chapter focuses on prohibitionist temperance reform ideology and women's municipal enfranchisement in the early 1880s that worked to incorporate acts of democratic citizenship into the feminine public sphere. Temperance reform, and more specifically prohibition, created space for British women in local electoral democracy. Female temperance reformers' involvement in prohibition presented a greater challenge to gender roles than moral suasion. While moral suasion was related to the idea of women's ‘complementary nature’, where prohibition's stress on a legislative means of temperance reform highlighted the limits of women's public role. The paucity of work on both female temperance reform and the women's movement in Scotland makes it difficult to evaluate the relative importance of prohibition for the politicisation of middle-class women in Scotland. Furthermore, an examination of the British Women's Temperance Association Scottish Christian Union (BWTASCU's) participation in the suffrage campaign demonstrates that constitutional suffragism was composed of a more diverse range of organisations than that which has been acknowledged.

Keywords: prohibitionist temperance reform; democratic citizenship; feminine public sphere; moral suasion; politicisation

Chapter.  10454 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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