Lady Rhondda

Lady Rhondda organised public meetings and spoke from public platforms on many occasions often to hostile audiences.

Lady Rhondda’s father was a Liberal politician and industrialist in Llanwern, Monmouthshire. Her mother was a suffragette and feminist. She was introduced to the suffrage movement through her mother's family, especially her mother's cousin, Florence Haig.

She joined the WSPU in 1909, established the Newport branch and became its secretary. She organised public meetings, inviting speakers such as Emmeline Pankhurst, and spoke from public platforms on many occasions, often to hostile audiences. Accompanied by Annie Kenney, she addressed the Liberal Club in Merthyr, her father's constituency, where they were both pelted with herrings and tomatoes. During the general election of 1910 she broke through a police cordon and jumped on to the running board of Prime Minister Asquith's car. In 1913 she was briefly imprisoned in Usk gaol after refusing to pay a fine imposed for burning the contents of a post box in Newport.

During WW1 she recruited women to work in France and on the land, primarily in Wales. She also ensured prostitutes were released from prison for breaking curfew, at a time when all women were on a curfew to discourage prostitution, but men weren't! After the war she founded and became president of the Women's (Political and) Industrial League and fought for women to be included in the Ministry of Health, especially maternity and midwifery. 

Between the wars, she chaired 13 different boards, was director of 48 companies, and a shareholder in many others. In 1926 she was the first and only female President of the Institute of Directors. In May 1920, she set up the feminist journal, Time and Tide and was also involved in the non-party Six Point Group. In July 1918, following her father's death she succeeded to the Peerage but wasn't allowed to sit in the Lords. She campaigned tirelessly for women to be able to sit in the Lords and vote until her death in 1958.

Lady Rhondda was a wealthy and privileged woman who realised she was in a fortunate position and used this to help all women regardless of their background and achieve equal rights.  Although women won the right to vote, they still weren't allowed to sit in the House of Lords. Margaret's work needs to be recognised as does Wales' contribution to the suffrage movement.

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