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Rethinking Right-Wing Women. Gender, Women and the Conservative Party, 1880s to the Present
June 29, 2015 - June 30, 2015
Monday 29th – Tuesday 30th June 2015, Bodleian New Weston Library, Oxford
This two-day international conference explores the relationship between women and conservatism since the late 19th century. In the media frenzy and the re-enactment of the visceral political divisions of the 1980s that greeted the death of Margaret Thatcher in April, 2013, it soon became clear that Britain’s first woman Prime Minister was being portrayed as an aberrant figure who had emerged from a party of men. It appeared that the media and the public had not been well enough served by academics in making sense of and contextualizing the Thatcher phenomenon and, more broadly, the paradoxical sexual politics of the Right. In many respects– from the foundation of the Primrose League in 1883 all the way to the 2010 so-called ‘Mumsnet’ election — the success of British Conservatives to organise and mobilize women has been ‘exceptional’. In the weeks after the General Election, we will come together to assess the British Conservative Party’s gender politics, and rethink right-wing women as political leaders, activists, organisers, and voters.
Collaboratively organised by Julie Gottlieb (University of Sheffield), Clarisse Berthezene (University of Paris-Diderot) and Jeremy McIllwaine (Archivist, CPA), Dr Rosie Campbell and Baroness Anne Jenkin will present the keynotes, and Prof. Stuart Ball will chair a roundtable on “Conserving Conservative Women.” Other speakers include Matthew Hendley, Diane Urquart, David Thackeray, June Purvis, Richard Toye, Adrian Bingham, Krista Cowman, Laura Beers, and Sara Childs.
We are grateful for financial assistance from the Conservative Party Archive, the C&C of the PSA, the University of Sheffield, and the Maison Française d’Oxford.