Women … will never know how much they owe to her

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:
Women … will never know how much they owe to her

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The colleagues with whom Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy had shared the struggles of women's emancipation remained strangely silent after her death. Her feminism had been moulded (and re-moulded) long before the term was a household word: and she owned it as being a part of her ‘natural’ make-up—a trait as inherent as breathing. Elizabeth believed in sexual abstention and moral purity but, paradoxically, she dwelt significantly on the individual right of prostitutes to earn their living as they chose. She generally had ‘extra-ordinary’ contribution to the British women's movement. She shared with many contemporaries a yearning to promote changes in the human condition, in how people lived and how they understood the world they inhabited. Additionally, she identified the most prized characteristics of the ‘Insurgent Woman’ as the ability to bring ‘Hope, in the place of despair, truth in everything and justice everywhere’.

Keywords: Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy; feminism; moral purity; sexual abstention; British women's movement; Insurgent Woman

Chapter.  3158 words. 

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