Records of Mothers in Action

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of minutes, agendas, constitutions, circulars, working papers, publications, reports, correspondence, newsletters, and source material for publications including press cuttings and printed works from other organisations.

The archive was transferred to The Women's Library by two members of the group, both active in the late 1960s to mid 1970s. As a result, survival of records is not uniform and reflects their interests, rather than being representative of MIA as a whole. Some non-MIA material was also present: this has been catalogued as 5MIA/13

Administrative / Biographical History

Mothers in Action (1967-c.1977) was established in 1967 by five unsupported mothers who joined together to improve the conditions in which they were living and bringing up their children. The group was founded with a £10 grant from the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child (later NCOPF). The aim of MIA was 'To press for the best possible status for unsupported mothers and their children'. The four objectives of the group were: (1) To encourage unsupported mothers to improve their own conditions through participation in the activities of the group and any other organisation with which the group may be associated. (2) To press for improvements in the status of and facilities for unsupported mothers and their children, by representation to local authorities or government departments and by specially conducted campaigns. (3) To disseminate information of special interest to unsupported mothers and similarly to encourage their personal contribution to current research into their problems. (4) To encourage social contact between unsupported mothers; to reduce isolation and to enable them to make the fullest part of life in the community. Services offered to members included distribution of a newsletter, accommodation register, fact sheets, baby-sitting register and the existence of local groups. By 1969 membership of Mothers In Action had grown to 1000 countrywide, with some members living abroad. The organisation existed as a pressure group for unsupported mothers, both employed and unemployed. The group included single mothers, divorced, separated or deserted wives, widows and married women whose husbands were serving prison sentences or were incapable of supporting them by virtue of mental or physical handicaps. Membership was divided into Ordinary Members - Unsupported Mothers - and Associate Member- everyone else. In 1972 the group was revised and formal membership abolished (effective 1 Mar 1972). The aim was now rephrased: 'To press for the best possible status for one parent families regardless of race, religion or nationality'. The decision was made to focus on pressure activities rather than services to members.

SUMMARY OF CAMPAIGNS: 1970-1975 Housing; 1960s Equal pay; 1968-1970 Day Nursery Campaign; 1968 Adoption; 1973 Target Campaign on Maternity Leave; 1973-1974 Day care campaign; 1974 School age mothers; 1974 Parents' legal rights, in conjunction with Brunel University.

Arrangement

There was no original order so the material has been arranged into series according to the activities of the group.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited in two separate accessions in 1992 and in 2003, both as outright gifts

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Appraisal Information

Duplicates have been deaccessioned. 2 files - income tax forms for MIA employee and Inland Revenue literature - were deaccessioned as they contained standard government forms. (Files were given references 5MIA/2.23 and 5MIA/2.24 on the original box list).