The Women’s Emancipation Union, 1891–July 1899: ‘no mere suffrage society’

Maureen Wright

in Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy and the Victorian Feminist Movement

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780719081095
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700037 | DOI:
The Women’s Emancipation Union, 1891–July 1899: ‘no mere suffrage society’

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This chapter demonstrates that Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy took the analysis to new lengths in the work of the Women's Emancipation Union (WEU). Elizabeth joined her husband in working for the Fair Trade alliance after resigning from the Women's Franchise League. The central place played by the Clitheroe judgment in the WEU's formation was mirrored in the prominence given to the issue of women's sexual subjection in WEU endeavours. As head of the WEU, Elizabeth advocated partnerships which placed ‘the moral regeneration of mankind’ at their heart. The highs and lows of WEU campaigning were recorded purely because Elizabeth believed its activities historically significant and wished to secure its archive. Few could dispute Elizabeth's willingness to partake personally in those ‘politics of disruption’ that she would continually advocate as the right course for suffragists in the new century.

Keywords: Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy; Women's Emancipation Union; Fair Trade; Women's Franchise League; women's sexual subjection

Chapter.  11286 words. 

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