Dorothy Jewson

Dorothy Jewson was a feminist who was elected as Labour MP for Norwich in 1923, the city’s first female MP, but was then defeated in 1924, again in 1929 and in 1931.

Dorothy Jewson was a feminist who was elected as Labour MP for Norwich in 1923, the city’s first female MP, but was then defeated in 1924, again in 1929 and in 1931. She served on Norwich City Council from 1929 to 1936. She also took a prominent role within the International Labour Party (ILP) and served on numerous internal committees.

Dorothy was one of two children of Alderman George Jewson JP, a coal and timber merchant, and his wife, Mary Jane Jarrold. In 1908, she gained a teacher’s certificate and from 1908 to 1911, worked as an assistant mistress in Surrey. On her return to Norwich to teach, Dorothy joined the suffrage movement and the Women’s Social and Political Union, and in 1912 she stood unsuccessfully as a Labour candidate for the board of guardians. She then conducted an enquiry, with her brother, looking into poverty and poor relief in Norwich that led to the publication of “The Destitute of Norwich and how they Live: a Report into the Administration of out Relief (1912).”

During the First World War Dorothy helped run a training centre for unemployed girls under the age of seventeen. Following the war, she was invited by the trade union leader Mary Macarthur to become an organiser for the National Federation of Women Workers in London.

Dorothy’s maiden speech as an MP was on the subject of extending voting rights to young women and she sought more influence for Labour women within their own party’s structure. She used all her influence to try to gain support for controversial policies such as family allowances and easier access to birth control.

Dorothy Jewson was a lifelong activist on behalf of women and the poor as well as being a suffrage campaigner, anti-poverty campaigner and female Labour MP.

A film about Dorothy Jewson here Created in 2014 by UEA Film, Media and Television students Yasbelle Kerkow, Al Simmons and Grace Godfrey

 

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