Agnes Dawson, Peckham

"First the vote... then the rights of women teachers to work after marriage," Agnes Dawson,

The battle for equal pay and equal terms and conditions for all women workers still goes on. Between the wars, many employers insisted that women gave up employment when they married. That was especially so for women teachers, and the London County Council was no exception.

Agnes had trained as a teacher and by 1917 was head of Crawford Street infant school in Peckham. An active member of the NUT, she ensured they campaigned for women’s suffrage. She was herself an active non- militant suffragist. She helped establish the National Federation of Women Teachers within the NUT, which later became the NUWT. The union supported her financially in 1925 when she resigned her teaching post to be elected to the London County Council. Labour took control of the LCC in 1934, but it took Agnes until 1935 to persuade Herbert Morrison to implement their promise and end the marriage bar on women teachers.

 

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