Working Class Women’s Active Participation in the 1910-14 British Labour Revolt


1 October 2023


Volume 1 – Number 11

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Ralph Darlington



The ‘Labour Revolt’ that swept Britain in the years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War between 1910 and 1914 was one of the most sustained, dramatic and violent explosions of industrial militancy and associated social conflict the country has ever experienced. Yet remarkably, beyond some single-case studies, little detailed attention has been given within the fields of industrial relations and labour history to the active and prominent role played by women workers and non-working women to this strike-wave revolt and social confrontation. This paper attempts to fill the gap by drawing on both a range of secondary literature and new archival material to focus on 19 different strikes across a variety of industries in which women were directly involved as workers (in both non-unionised and unionised contexts), as well as 11 other strikes in which they were externally involved en masse in supporting predominately male strikers. In the process, the paper explores the causes, features, limits and potential, and broader consequences of this activity.


Women workers, Strikes, Trade unions