In February 1900 a group of men representing trade unionists, socialists, Fabians & Marxists gathered in London to make another attempt at establishing an organisation capable of getting working-class men elected to Parliament. The body they set up was the Labour Representation Committee; 6 years later when 29 of its candidates were elected to the House of Commons it changed its name to the Labour Party. No women took part in that first meeting, but several watched from the public gallery.

The Women in the Room

Throughout Labour’s history, even in its earliest years, women were present in the room, but they were not always recorded or remembered. They came from many different backgrounds and they worked for the causes they believed in as organisers, campaigners, negotiators, polemicists, public speakers and leaders. They took on the vested interests of their time – and sometimes they won.

Yet the vast majority of them have been forgotten by the Labour movement that they helped to found. Women made real and substantial contributions to Labour’s earliest years and had a significant impact on the Party’s ability to attract and maintain women’s votes after World War I. In many of the rooms in which the Labour Party found its feet, remarkable women wait to be rediscovered.

This book tells their story.

New release available in store and online.

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