Mary Macarthur: The Working Woman's Champion

Mary Macarthur: The Working Woman's Champion

The author Cathy Hunt talks to publisher of History West Midlands, Mike Gibbs about Mary Macarthur and what she achieved in such a short life, dying at the age of 40 in 1921.  Mary's incredible activism and leadership was responsible for raising awareness of women’s poor working conditions and encouraging them to speak out against injustice and inequality.

Mary Macarthur is perhaps best known for the prominent part she played in the women chain makers’ strike in Cradley Heath, Staffordshire in 1910. The dispute, which lasted two months, ended in success with the women receiving the country’s first minimum wage. It was a triumph but it was by no means an isolated event and Mary Macarthur, as leader of the country’s first all-female general trade union, the National Federation of Women Workers, travelled the length and breadth of the country making sure that women were strengthened by better pay and working conditions and union membership.

Cathy explores Mary Macarthur, who was such an extraordinary individual and why she chose the path that she did at a time when it was far from common for middle-class women to appear on public platforms. 

Keywords: Mary Macarthur, Cathy Hunt, Women Chainmaker's, Cradley Heath, Women, Trade Union

Mary Macarthur 1880-1921 The Working Woman’s Champion

In 1921 the brilliant and charismatic trade union leader, Mary Macarthur, died aged 40. In her short life, her activism and leadership had been responsible for raising awareness of women’s poor working conditions and encouraging them to speak out against injustice and inequality. Mary Macarthur is perhaps best known for...

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