Records of the Equal Rights International Group

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 5ERI
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      English , German , Italian , Spanish , French
  • Physical Description
      7 A boxes

Scope and Content

The archive consists of correspondence correspondence (1929-1934) with members, affiliated branches and other groups, annual reports (1929-1934), minutes and correspondence of the Equal Political Rights Campaign Committee (1927-1930), papers relating to the foundation of ERI (1926-1930) and to their work with the League of Nations (1930-1934), financial papers including the accounts of the ERI and the National Women's Party (1932-3).

Administrative / Biographical History

See the corporate history for Equal Rights International; 1930-c.1940

Equal Rights International (1930-c.1940) was founded in 1930 when the franchise was granted to women in a growing number of countries, and women's activism in the West moved from suffrage to campaigning for equality of rights with men. When progress was impeded at a national level, many began to look to international change. Campaigning, by Vera Brittain amongst others, was undertaken to press the League of Nations to pass an Equal Rights treaty. In 1929 the British Six Point Group and Open Door Council had worked together to form Open Door International to secure this and equal pay for female workers and at first the League appeared to support this work. However, when plans for an equal rights treaty emerged, Open Door International opposed it as too vague to repeal contemporary discriminatory laws. In response to this situation, Equal Rights International was founded in 1930 by members of the Six Point Group with the support of the National Women's Party to continue the process, aiming to 'work for the adoption of the Equal Rights Treaty by all nations'. Members of the Geneva-based group included Vera Brittain, who was active in the promotion of the Equal Rights Treaty from 1929, Jessie Street, who became vice-president in 1930 and the journalist Linda Littlejohn who became president in 1935. Member countries of the League of Nations were lobbied to back the treaty, but no member country could be found to place the item on the Assembly's agenda. Despite this, work continued and the ERI became affiliated to the Liaison Committee of International Women's Organisations in order to gain increased access to members of the League of Nations secretariat. An initial lack of success was followed by hope in the late 1930s, when a committee of inquiry into women's legal status across the world was created. However, this work also came to nothing as the Second World War began. The organisation appears to have been wound up some time after this, c.1940.

Access Information

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

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds the papers of the Open Door International Group (5ODI) and the Six Point Group (5SPG).