The Politics of Gender in Victorian Britain

The Politics of Gender in Victorian Britain : Masculinity, Political Culture and the Struggle for Women's Rights

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This groundbreaking history of Victorian politics, feminism and parliamentary reform challenges traditional assumptions about the development of British democracy and the struggle for women's rights and demonstrates how political activity has been shaped by changes in the history of masculinity. From the second half of the nineteenth century, Britain's all-male parliament began to transform the legal position of women as it reformed laws that had upheld male authority for centuries. To explain these revolutionary changes, Ben Griffin looks beyond the actions of the women's movement alone and shows how the behaviour and ideologies of male politicians were fundamentally shaped by their gender. He argues that changes to women's rights were the result not simply of changing ideas about women but also of changing beliefs about masculinity, religion and the nature of the constitution, and, in doing so, demonstrates how gender inequality can be created and reproduced by the more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 3 tables
  • 1139216546
  • 9781139216548

Table of contents

Part I. Introduction: 1. 'Feminism' and the history of women's rights; Part II. Masculinity and the Struggle for Women's Rights: 2. The domestic ideology of Victorian patriarchy; 3. Class, liberalism and the erosion of Victorian domestic ideology; 4. Religious change and the transformation of domestic ideology; 5. The politics of paternity; 6. Performing masculinities in the House of Commons; Part III. Political Culture and the Struggle for Women's Rights: 7. Classes, interests and parliamentary reform; 8. The instability of the 1867 settlement, the secret ballot, and women's suffrage; 9. Redefining 'fitness': from the educated voter to household suffrage; 10. The road to democracy, 1885-1906; 11. more

Review quote

'... an impressive contribution to the history of the struggle for women's rights. Griffin's close attention to the ways in which politicians' gender shaped their responses to women's rights issues sheds new light both on the winning of those rights and on constructions of Victorian masculinity.' Maureen Martin, Victorian Studiesshow more