- Margaret Bondfield
Rt. Hon. Margaret Bondfield Margaret Bondfield in 1919 Minister of Labour In office
8 June 1929 – 24 August 1931
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald Preceded by Arthur Steel-Maitland Succeeded by Henry Betterton Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
Member of Parliament
Personal details Born 17 March 1873
Chard, Somerset, England
Died 16 June 1953
Nationality British Political party Labour Religion Congregationalist
Margaret Grace Bondfield (17 March 1873 – 16 June 1953) was an English Labour politician and feminist, the first woman Cabinet minister in the United Kingdom and one of the first three female Labour MPs. Like many figures of the Labour movement, Bondfield was a non-conformist - particularly, a member of the Congregational church.
Bondfield was born in Chard, Somerset, the eleventh child of Anne (née Taylor) and William Bondfield, a textiles worker with left-wing views. She began an apprenticeship at the age of 14 in a draper's shop in Brighton, where a customer, Louisa Martindale, befriended her; Martindale took her under her wing, helped educate her, and lent her books on left-wing politics. In 1894 she moved to London and was elected to the Shop Assistants' Union district council.
In 1896 the Women's Industrial Council commissioned her to investigate the pay and conditions of shop workers, and she published a report on this in 1898. In 1898 she was elected assistant secretary of the Shop Assistants' Union and in 1908 became secretary of the Women's Labour League. She was President of the Trades Union Congress General Council in 1923.
In 1923 Bondfield was elected Labour Member of Parliament for Northampton at her third attempt but lost her seat in the general election a year later. She again stood for election in 1926, this time at a by-election in the Wallsend constituency. She was appointed Minister of Labour by Ramsay MacDonald on 8 June 1929. This was the first time that a woman had been made a Cabinet Minister in Britain. She was defeated in the 1931 general election and despite standing at Wallsend in 1935, she never returned to the House of Commons. In 1937 she was selected to be the Labour candidate at Reading, for an election expected in 1939 or 1940.
Books by Margaret Bondfield
- Socialism for Shop Assistants (1909)
- The National Care of Maternity (1914)
- The Meaning of Trade (1928)
- Why Labour Fights (1941)
- Our Towns: A Close-up (1943)
- A Life's Work (1949)
- ^ Oxfrod Dictionary of National Biography, accessed 16 June 2011
- ^ a b c d "Margaret Bondfield". Spartacus Educational. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wbondfield.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- ^ a b Zagoreos, Anna (2003-10-11). "Margaret Bondfield and Mary Macarthur: their work to organize working women". University of Paris X Nanterre. http://anglais.u-paris10.fr/spip.php?article86. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- ^ a b "Margaret Bondfield (1873-1953)". Timeline. TUC History. http://www.unionhistory.info/timeline/Tl_Display.php?Where=Dc1Title+contains+%27Margaret+Bondfield+(1873-1953)%27+. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- ^ "Margaret Bondfield". Women's history timeline. BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/timeline/margaret_bondfield.shtml. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- ^ "Bondfield, Margaret Grace 1873 1953 Labour Politician". British Library of Political and Economic Science. http://archives.lse.ac.uk/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=COLL+MISC+1017. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded by
Member of Parliament for Northampton
Sir Patrick Hastings
Member of Parliament for Wallsend
Political offices Preceded by
Minister of Labour
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