The archive consists of agendas and minutes of the Consultative Committee of Women's Organisations (1926-1927); preliminary agenda and report of the inaugural conference (1921); annual reports (1922-3, 1925-6); agenda, minutes, papers and report of the fifth annual conference (1926); circular letters (1926).
Records of the Consultative Committee of Women's Organisations
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
The creation of the Consultative Committee of Women's Organisations (1921-1928) in 1921 was very much at the behest of Lady Nancy Astor. Lady Astor was the first elected woman to take her seat in the House of Commons in 1919. After one year there, she had become concerned with the inefficacy of the women's groups' pressure on parliament. She organised a conference on the issue attended by a range of women's organisations as well as public, professional and academic women and sympathetic male MPs. At the meeting, it was agreed that its resultant report was to be discussed by a committee of interested organisations. This became the Consultative Committee of Women's Organisations in Mar 1921. It had no executive authority but functioned solely as a forum in which women's issues would be discussed and from which recommendations as to joint action between constituent bodies could be issued. Lady Astor was President until 1928 and her political secretary, Hilda Matheson, was Secretary during the early period. The committee focussed on co-ordinating the efforts of women's groups to lobby members of parliament for legislation to improve women's legal status. However, divisions appeared in the movement in the mid-1920s that would bring the group to an end. Disputes over whether to work solely for the equality of the sexes or to support women's increased independence through the provision of family allowances and similar social welfare projects led to the withdrawal of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship from the group in 1928. The Committee was dissolved in Oct 1928.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.
Other Finding Aids
Fawcett Library Catalogue