Quaker Studies

Caroline Stephen and the Opposition to British Women’s Suffrage

Quaker Studies (2010), 15, (1), 32–52.

Abstract

The article explores the provenance and nature of Caroline Stephen’s opposition to British women’s suffrage, setting this issue within the context of her life and times. Her influences included male relatives, life as a Victorian daughter-at-home and religious experience as a convinced Quaker and enthusiastic member of Women’s Yearly Meeting. Far from being anomalous, Caroline Stephen’s anti-suffragism reflected widespread doubts over the appropriateness of women’s entry into parliamentary politics. The Religious Society of Friends was divided on the subject and her eloquence was a valuable support to conservative gender views within the Society and beyond it. Caroline Stephen contributed towards developing a positive, woman-centred opposition to the vote which celebrated gender difference and the value of femininity. She wrote as a Quaker and the religious basis of her views gave them particular power.

Caroline Stephen and the Opposition to British Women’s Suffrage

Abstract

The article explores the provenance and nature of Caroline Stephen’s opposition to British women’s suffrage, setting this issue within the context of her life and times. Her influences included male relatives, life as a Victorian daughter-at-home and religious experience as a convinced Quaker and enthusiastic member of Women’s Yearly Meeting. Far from being anomalous, Caroline Stephen’s anti-suffragism reflected widespread doubts over the appropriateness of women’s entry into parliamentary politics. The Religious Society of Friends was divided on the subject and her eloquence was a valuable support to conservative gender views within the Society and beyond it. Caroline Stephen contributed towards developing a positive, woman-centred opposition to the vote which celebrated gender difference and the value of femininity. She wrote as a Quaker and the religious basis of her views gave them particular power.


Details

Author details

Bush, Julia

Bush, Julia