Juanita Maxwell Phillips

Juanita campaigned on women's employment as part of Six Point Group and the Open Door Council, and remained a member of the WFL until full equal suffrage was achieved.

Prior to 1914, Juanita campaigned as a member of the WSPU and WFL that included taking part in deputations to Parliament. After the First World War, she embarked on a career in public life and was elected as a Guardian, became the first woman Borough Councillor in Honiton, the first woman mayor, and the first woman County Councillor in Devon. 

Juanita also campaigned on women's employment as part of Six Point Group and the Open Door Council, and remained a member of WFL until full equal suffrage was achieved. She fought for better conditions in welfare institutions; was a member of the Exeter and District branches of the National Union of Equal Citizenship Societies and Women’s Welfare Association for women police and for access to family planning services. During the Second World War she was head of the Devon Women’s Voluntary Service. 

As a councillor, Juanita worked to ensure good design in council houses, to acquire open spaces and playing fields and also challenged fellow guardians and county councillors over their out-dated assumptions on women’s employment and the role of health visitors. She established the Women’s Institute in Honiton, for instance, where women could come together and enjoy themselves as well as develop new knowledge and skills and also established the Devon Council of Women in public service. 

As a councillor, guardian, magistrate and NHS board member she secured better housing, better support for mothers and children and for those in poverty, and better healthcare. She was a constant advocate for opportunities for women in education and employment but did not forget that life is more than mere subsistence. She also established the Little Theatre in Honiton for use by the community. Juanita was awarded an OBE in 1950.

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