chapter  8
25 Pages

Women, Feminism and the Politics of ‘Protective’ Legislation

Outside of suffrage, ‘protective’ legislation was one of most important foci for feminist politics during the period of ‘first wave’ feminism in the late Victorian and early twentieth-century period. Suffrage also provided a context for the position that sections of the women’s movement took toward State intervention in general and ‘protective’ labour legislation in particular. ‘Protective’ legislation also gave rise to divisions between women in their analysis of both the problem of and possible remedy for women’s working conditions. These divisions reflected different views of what was the right political strategy for activists to pursue in the light of their disenfranchisement from the mainstream political process and national policy-making.